Lady Bulldogs top Hornets for Southwest 10 volleyball title
MENDON — The volleyball rivalry between Mendon and Centreville goes back several years.
But no matter what league both schools have been affiliated with and presently belong to, the two schools always seem to put on a good show.
Tuesday’s Southwest 10 Conference fight for the league title between the two teams at Mendon was no exception.
Centreville and Mendon both entered the match tied for first place with a record of 8-0.
The Lady Bulldogs entered Tuesday’s action ranked No. 6 in Division 3, while Mendon, the defending state champions, held the No. 3 ranking in Division 4.
It was money well spent for a packed crowd as Centreville managed to hold off Mendon in a five-set thriller 19-25, 23-25, 25-20, 25-20, 15-6 to claim the conference title.
There isn’t too many times you get the chance to go to a conference championship game made up of 10 teams, where the top two are represented as top five state-ranked teams. Tonight the communities of Centreville and Mendon got the opportunity to see what the best teams in the state have going on. I think they go their money’s worth,” said Centreville head coach Deric Mostrom.
“It was a battle of not only two state ranked teams, the top two teams in the SW10 Conference, but it was a battle of two rival schools located just 10 miles apart. Both teams have been chasing wins against each other for decades.”
Centreville captures its first league title in volleyball since 2001.
“Mendon has taken most of the conference championships since that time. The last few years have been battles with both teams winning on and off during their matchups, but for conference Mendon always took the win versus us,” Mostrom said.
Centreville coach said his team has been pointing toward this match for quite a while now.
We have been focused on this game for weeks. We knew there strong spots, their weak spots, their tendencies, but our main focus was on knowing for a fact, that we weren’t going to be able to do it by ourselves,” Mostrom said.
“It took every single person tonight to win this match. During the preparation of practice to the encouragement and support we gave each other through the whole match it was definitely a team win.”
Centreville coach admitted Mendon had his team on its heels in sets one and two.
“In the first couple of sets Mendon had us on our heals. Anna Smith doing her thing as both a hitter and a very aggressive server. She attacked us hard and we didn’t handle it well. We continued to fight little by little though out the first set and continued to get stronger and adjust during the second set but we fell just short with a few key errors to lose the second set,” Mostrom explained.
The third set wasn’t much different according to Mostrom, but Centreville was able to start taking control of the match.
“We were focused on the game, made a few adjustments and kept pushing. Our efficiency in every category was better in the third set. With this, we were able to control the ball a little bit more, but what was important was the fact that we made it harder on them. We know if they are in system that they are a dangerous team. We had to keep them moving and keep them uncomfortable and from set three and on I felt like we did that,” Mostrom said.
The Bulldogs’ head coach starting feeling really good about the outcome after the fourth set.
“I was pretty confident that we were going to come away with the win at that point. The girls were pumped, but we were focused on making sure we didn’t let the excitement take us away. When we gave up points in the fifth set we got them back quickly and kept pushing,” Mostrom said.
“Tonight was great for us as a team and us as individuals. We had to work hard for this and that is exactly how the night should of gone with two great teams battling for the championship. Lots of respect always goes out to the Mendon Volleyball program. Their coaches, girls, community and families, but at the end of the day, it was a great day to be a Bulldog and its great to say for the first time in 18 years that we are conference champions.”
Mostro praised the performance of his seniors.
Kenleigh West-Wing had 13 kills, 17 kills, three blocks and 13 digs for Centreville. Hannah Duchene added 13 kills, four aces and 13 digs. Joanna Larsen finished with 12 kills two aces, one assist and 21 digs.
Mostrom also praised Larsen’s serve-receive on the night.
Zoey LeBarre added four blocks at the net for the Lady Bulldogs to go with three kills and two digs.
Isabel Stauffer spread the ball out well and controlled the game nicely from her setter’s position with 20 assists and .40 percent passing efficiency.
“The seniors really stepped up tonight. In big games like this...you have to have your seniors step up, play consistent and efficient. When the ball touches their hands they need to take care of that. For the most part that is what they did.,” Mostrom said.
Sophomore Sarah Stauffer added seven kills, one ace, one block and 11 digs. Grace Nighswonger also had three kills and Kate Miles led the back row with 27 digs and also had one ace for the Lady Bulldogs.
Mendon was led by Anna Smith with four aces, 21 kills, one assist and 24 digs. Gracie Russell posted 34 assists and 18 digs for Mendon. Julianna Hagenbuch added 23 digs. Nicole Parsons had 12 digs for the Lady Hornets. Ryley Mullin added two assists and four digs. Taylor Heitkamp tossed in nine kills and four digs for Mendon.
Mendon hosts Saturday’s Southwest 10 Conference Tournament at 9 a.m.