Battle Creek — Miss Volleyball award finalist Kiana Mayer was thrilled to have played a major role in helping Bronson become the first school to win three straight Class C state championships in more than 30 years.
But, Mayer was most proud of her younger sister Alanna Mayer blocking 6-foot senior all-state middle hitter Alex Randall not once, not twice, but three times on a single rally in the pivotal third set of Bronson’s 20-25, 25-19, 25-20, 25-19 state title victory over Laingsburg Saturday afternoon at Kellogg Arena.
“She stepped up so big for us today. It was a long rally and for her to come out and get that block, the blocks, especially on their best player, it just kind of fired us all up, and it was like, ‘Here we go,’” said Kiana of her younger sister. “She’s come so far this season and I’m so proud of her.”
While Kiana Mayer has played a part in all three state titles, it was the first for Alanna who was proud of her blocking on Randall who finished with 16 kills, but just a .188 hitting percentage.
“I was really shocked because she’s like 6-foot and I’m 5-7,” Alanna said. “Really, I just try my best to get up there and block her because it’s a lot to get up there. I had my team behind me and they helped me and encouraged me to get a block every single time.
“This has been so much fun, winning the state title and to share it with all my cousins, Kiera (Lasky), Adyson (Lasky), Meagan (Lasky), Jolie (Smoker) and Scyler (Cary) and my sister.”
Oh, and Bronson coach Jean LaClair was proud of her players battling back from the deficit, especially 5-11 junior middle hitter Ashton Wronikowski and Kiana Mayer, the senior setter.
“I thought it was a pretty gutsy performance, Ashton tweaked her ankle and Kiana hurt her thumb, so I said do you guys want to play or do you want me to put a sub in for you and they both wanted to stay on the court and play through that which is a pretty gutsy performance,” LaClair said.
Six-foot sophomore outside hitter Keona Salesman had a match-high 19 kills and 11 digs with a .444 hitting percentage to lead Bronson (58-9-2) while Wronikowski had 11 kills, Jolie Smoker, 12 kills, Adyson Lasky 15 digs and Kiana Mayer, 37 assists.
“I couldn’t be more happy with what our team has accomplished,” Salesman said. “After we lost the first game we just changed our mindset. We knew we had to come out stronger in the second. In that first game, we came out thinking we got this because we went through the hardest teams (to reach title match) so we thought this is ours.
“After that first game loss, we came out in the second game knowing it was do or die because everything that we worked so hard for came down to it. We just got our hitting down and did a better job of blocking.”
Bronson became the first team in Class C to win three straight state titles since Berrien Springs from 1984-86.