Photos by Kyle Kempster
Western Michigan Christian was two wins away from capturing the first state volleyball championship in school history.
Maddi Osantowski and her Reese team killed that dream despite the Warriors’ efforts.
Osantowski, a 5-foot-9 senior outside hitter, finished with a whopping 37 kills to lead Reese to a Division 3 state semifinal victory over Western Michigan Christian Friday afternoon. In a highly competitive four-game match, the Rockets defeated the Warriors, 25-20, 25-18, 23-25, 28-26, at Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek.
Reese (34-5-1) advances to Saturday’s 2 p.m. championship match against the winner of the semifinal between McBain (36-4-1) and Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central (35-11), the two-time defending state champ and perennial power.
Western Michigan Christian ends its historic season with a 49-6 record. The Warriors, who made it to the semifinals for the first time in history, had won 21 straight entering Friday’s match.
Osantowski added 19 digs and four aces for Reese, which captured its first regional title in program history last week.
Also playing key roles for the Rockets were Aydan Dalak with 46 assists and 13 digs, and Josie Johnson with 24 digs and six assists. Jerzie VanOchten and Sarah Gray recorded 11 digs apiece, with VanOchten adding four aces and Gray six kills with two aces.
For Western Michigan Christian, Kyla Wiersema totaled 24 kills, 14 digs and two solo blocks with five block assists. Maddie Wiersema had 28 digs, two aces, two solo blocks and four block assists. Kendal Young finished with 38 assists, 18 digs, six kills and three block assists. Haley Breuker added 11 digs.
WMC lost the first two games to fall into a hole but battled the rest of the way. In the third game, the Warriors trailed by seven twice and were down 22-16 before they mounted a rally. They charged back by scoring nine of the next 10 points to pull within a 2-1 deficit in the match.
The fourth game was back-and-forth the entire way. Reese built a 21-16 lead, but Western Michigan Christian chipped away. The teams were tied at 24-all, 25-apiece and 26-26 before the Rockets closed it out.
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