Division 3 volleyball: Bronson sweeps to fourth straight championship
Battle Creek — All Bronson senior libero Kiera Lasky knew about during her career was walking off the Kellogg Arena floor with the title as state champion at season's end.
So, it should have come as no surprise Saturday afternoon that No. 2 Bronson defeated Unionville-Sebewaing 25-19, 25-19, 25-23 in the Division 3 championship match, two days after pulling out a five-set win in the semifinals over top-ranked Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central.
Lasky had the chance to lift the championship trophy for the fourth straight year. And when Bronson coach Jean LaClair called a timeout with her team down 12-6 in the third set, Lasky waived her off and said she would handle the huddle.
Bronson took Lasky’s words to heart, responding with the 25-23 win to close out the match with 6-foot-1 junior outside hitter Keona Salesman unstoppable, getting kill after kill to make sure the match would not be extended.
Salesman finished with 19 kills and a .415 hitting average with eight digs and 6-foot senior Jolie Smoker had 13 kills and a .435 hitting average as Bronson hit .292 as a team. Sophomore setter Meagan Lasky had 35 assists and 11 digs and Kiera Lasky, 14 digs.
“This team is totally different than our teams in the past because they don’t get excited, even today they didn’t get excited, they just took care of business,” LaClair said. “We just have that calm demeanor and I think that’s one thing that makes them special.
“People think it (state championships) just happens and it’s not that easy. It was really hard today because we were expected to win. I think that put a lot of pressure on our backs so I’m proud that we handled it well.”
After winning the first two sets, Bronson consistently battled from behind, leading to LaClair calling a second timeout.
“I called the second timeout with the intent of probably ripping them and Kiera said, ‘You are not coming in (to the huddle), I’m taking care of this,’” said LaClair, who has 894 wins in her 19-year career.
Said Kiera Lasky: “I kind of just told her to go away, that I got this and we really came out of it, got a couple of points back and then after that we were like, 'Next ball, that last play doesn’t matter.' We moved forward and got the job done.
“I’ve never not won (a state championship). This one is bittersweet I guess, going out with a win, going out with my favorite people. It’s so exciting.”
Senior middle hitter Rylee Zimmer had 16 kills and 10 digs for Unionville-Sebewaing (44-5-4).
“I just think that this was our first time being here, maybe the atmosphere of it, we just couldn’t capitalize sometime on getting to their attacks and defending as well as we could have," Unionville-Sebewaing coach Teresa Rose said. "But, they played with their hearts and I’m proud of the way they played."