North Branch Seniors End Historic Run With D2 Title
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The emotions coming from the North Branch volleyball team following Saturday’s Division 2 final looked more like a team that had come out on the losing end than the winning one. The Broncos defeated Grand Rapids West Catholic 25-8, 25-14,…
The emotions coming from the North Branch volleyball team following Saturday’s Division 2 final looked more like a team that had come out on the losing end than the winning one.
The Broncos defeated Grand Rapids West Catholic 25-8, 25-14, 25-18 to secure their second consecutive D2 state title, but the match also marked the end of an historic career of eight North Branch seniors.
“That’s the tears, it’s honestly a lot more for it’s done than winning,” said North Branch coach Jim Fish.
The majority of the Broncos’ starting lineup consisted of four-year seniors that have played together since they were kids and the reality of it being the last time, win or lose, carried an impact after the match.
“The majority of us eight seniors started when we were eight years old at North Branch Volleyball Club, and no one pretty much left. So, we were all trained here and so we all played with each other since we were eight,” said North Branch senior outside. “So I think we even have a deeper connection than most other teams. I even pulled up a picture this weekend and it was from our first year of volleyball and all of us girls pretty much are in it that (picture) that are playing right now. So, like it was really sad to see the girls that I played with forever and I don’t get to play with again. Most teams end on a low, but when you end on a high you just want to keep going. So, I think it’s hard.”
The group of seniors close out their career with 188 wins, three appearances at Kellogg Arena and two D2 state championships. They are the first to repeat as state champions at North Branch.
“We’re gonna miss them dearly. They’ve accomplished so much in a four-year career,” Fish said. “I’ve said it, I’ve read it this morning that this might be one of the best Division 2 teams of all time, and I believe that. We have everything. We have a four-your starting setter, a four-year your starting libero. We have a four-year starting middle and a three-year starting right side. We have pretty much everything. It’s a pretty, pretty complete team.”
Those seniors were on full display in Saturday’s win.had 13 digs with five kills while had 33 assists and five digs. tallied nine digs while had nine kills with four digs. Middle added six kills.
Mix in sophomore, who had a team-high 14 kills and 19 digs, and the Broncos just didn’t have a weakness.
Credit to West Catholic, as the Falcons put up a fight and held North Branch to .186 hitting. The Broncos were hitting close to .300 for the season.
“I think it was just about staying true to ourselves and playing our style volleyball in really just trying to contain a good first contact,” West Catholic coach Megan Eversman said of game planning for North Branch. “There were moments where they kept us out of that mindset. But, we also got them on their heels a little bit. I’m just really proud of the girls and the fight that they gave and trying to give their all for the first time (at Kellogg Arena).”
Brooke Tietz had seven kills for West Catholic in the loss while Emma Tuttle added six kills and nine digs.had 12 digs while Alivia Mott had 11 assists and eight digs.