D3 volleyball: Costlow, Haut lead Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central to repeat
Battle Creek — Abbie Costlow and Mikayla Haut proved to be hard to stop Saturday afternoon at Kellogg Arena to help Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central repeat as Division 3 state volleyball champions in a 25-19, 25-16, 25-8 sweep of Schoolcraft in a rematch of last year’s title match.
Costlow and Haut each had five kills in the opening set with Jaydin Nowak playing strong defense (11 digs) to set the tempo.
Costlow had three more kills to help MSMCC (39-2) take a 9-4 lead in the second set with Haut contributing nine kills in the set to have an outstanding .423 hitting percentage through the first two sets.
Haut finished with 17 kills and a .394 hitting percentage, along with 12 digs while Costlow had 14 kills and .355 hitting percentage as MSMCC hit at a .321 clip as a team. Kate Collingsworth had 28 assists and Nowak finished with 23 digs.
“I think we started off at the beginning with Abbie probably having four or five kills in a row and I don’t know if that caught them off guard a bit because normally we feed Mikayla at the beginning and Abbie got the first five swings,” said MSMCC coach Karen O’Brien.
“We knew that with Schoolcraft, their attack was based on two middles, a very good setter and a good libero and we knew to get them out of any type of system we had to be very aggressive attacking-wise. I think we had one little lapse where I got on them for tipping too many balls in a row. You’re going to win a state championship by being aggressive offensively and once that turned around I thought we played extremely well.
“It was important we came out strong. As long as we are passing and playing defense, we can run anything we want to, and I think the defense on the other side don’t know who it’s coming from.”
After a two-month layoff due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Schoolcraft won its state quarterfinal match Tuesday, but didn’t play in Thursday’s semifinal when Saginaw Valley Lutheran had to forfeit due to a positive case in its program.
Schoolcraft coach Erin Onken would have liked to play that semifinal but didn’t use it as an excuse, saying her team was loaded with seniors and knew what to expect.
“Things didn’t go our way,” Onken said. “Our game plan was simple. We were trying to attack Zone 1 with two back row setters and see what they look like out of system and they were still pretty darn aggressive so great for them.
“I feel like at moments we won the serve and serve-receive battle and that was a focus, but we couldn’t control it for the whole match so that’s another advantage for them. We just got beat by a great team that had a great day. We came out flat and it was hard to recover from.”
Maggie Morris had nine kills for Schoolcraft (36-4), which hit .070 as a team.