SAND CREEK – Kim Rector may not be able to get out of this job.
Erie graduate Mason spent nine years as the junior varsity volleyball coach at her alma mater, then another nine years as the varsity coach.
Photo gallery:Erie Mason vs. Blissfield Volleyball
She took four years off before returning to coach the eighth-grade team with Brenda Radabaugh seven years ago.
She was perfectly happy in that role, but the Eagles needed someone to step into the role of interim varsity coach a few weeks ago.
She and Radabaugh agreed to fill in alongside junior varsity coach Molly Miller.
That coaching trio made some magic Thursday night as the Eagles rallied to upset Blissfield, the sixth-ranked team in the state, 25-23, 16-25, 15-25, 25-23, 18-16 in the Division 3 semifinals , area in Sand Creek.
“That’s what they tell me,” Rector said with a laugh when asked if he would return as a full-time coach next season. “But I’m ready to retire after 30 years of teaching.”
Rector, Radabaugh and Miller taught Mason’s varsity team a lot in a few weeks.
The rector said the lessons were simple.
“We’ve noticed the girls have some strengths over the last few weeks,” she said. “In practice, we encouraged them to try different things. Other teams learn what you do. You have to try new things.”
The new stuff worked Thursday against Blissfield.
“The girls played consistently,” Rector said. “We’re trying to play smarter, not harder. They do really smart things and they believe in each other. They genuinely believed we could win tonight.
“They did a great job of lifting each other up.”
The momentum was never more important than in the fifth set when the Eagles were down 14-11.
“An incredible team effort,” the provost said.
Angela Sweeney had a big night with 18 kills and 22 digs, Beth Sweeney added 17 kills, Cam Zaleski 24 digs, Jayanna Willits 10 digs and Brooklyn Langenderfer 38 assists.
“While we are disappointed with the result, I hope it does not overshadow the phenomenal season we have enjoyed this year,” said Blissfield coach Annika Miller. “We finished our streak 50-5-1. I’m so proud of how far our team has come and how much we’ve grown.”
Mason will play St. Mary Catholic Central in the district finals at 11 a.m. Saturday.
SMCC (36-6) defeated Adrian Madison 25-8, 25-12, 25-15 in the other semifinal.
Mackenzie Niedermayer (32 assists, 7 aces), Jessica Costlow (22 kills, 9 digs, 2 aces), McKenna Payne (10 digs), Raelyn Turner (5 digs), Ashley Ruhlig (4 digs), Jillian Anderson (6 kills) , Madeline Dettling (3 kills) and Lauren Conant (3 kills) led the Kestrels.
PREPARATION FOR VOLLEYBALL
Bedford again outscored Monroe
TRENTON – Bedford defeated Monroe for the fifth time this season, winning 25-20, 25-16, 25-15 Thursday in the Division 1 District semifinals in Trenton.
“We played pretty well,” Bedford coach Jody Manore said of her 49-11-2 squad. “The serving was good and our shots were good from three or four players. They hung around for a while.
Getting served was a problem at times for the Mules, but they were successful on 47-of-51 attempts (92.1 percent) against Monroe, with Kailyn Schroeder going 14-for-14, Taylor Destat 11-for-11m and Riley Haberland 13 -for -14.
Victoria Gray hit .800 with 8 kills. Kadie Morse (.445), Macy Madalinski (.368) and Jaelyn Hall (.333) each registered 10 kills. Kailyn Schroeder had 32 assists and 15 digs, Gray 7 blocks, Destat 14 digs and 18 points, Haberland 14 digs and Alivia Brown 13 digs.
Bedford face Woodhaven in the final at 4pm on Friday.
Flat Rock at the finish
GROSSE ILE – Flat Rock will play for the Division 2 District championship in Grosse Ile at 6:00 p.m. Friday after defeating Taylor Prep 25-16, 25-17, 25-16 Thursday.
“It was a good night for us,” Flat Rock coach Mackenzie Kaiser said. “We are working on some new things. We tried a new line-up and it worked for us.”
Maddie Stager (11 kills, 3 digs), Alexis Knight (17 assists, 4 aces, 3 kills) and Makayla Bunce (7 kills, 2 aces, 5 digs, 1 block) led the 13-14 Rams.
Riverview defeated Grosse Ile 25-17, 25-18, 25-17 in the other semifinal.
“We watched a lot of film on them,” Kaiser said. “It will be a very competitive game.”
Summerfield is advancing
PETERSBURG – Summerfield will play for the Division 4 host district championship after defeating Morenzi 25-23, 25-22, 26-24 in Thursday’s semifinals.
Addison Ciacelli (2 aces, 5 kills, 12 digs, 36 assists), Ava Fisher (13 points, 4 aces, 6 digs), Kyra Horak (11 serves, 5 aces, 11 digs), Kylie LaPlante (12 digs), Mia Miller (8 kills), Megan Pease (6 kills, 7 blocks) and Julia Fitz (10 kills, 10 digs, 2 blocks) led the Bulldogs. Summerfield faces top-ranked Lenawee Christian in Friday’s final at 5 p.m.
“Morenchi played hard tonight, but I’m proud of the way the girls responded,” Summerfield coach Dawn Perry said. “We are excited to head into the district finals against Lenawee Christian with a lot of energy and intensity.”
PREPARATION FOR FOOTBALL
Dundee, Ida each get two
BLISSFIELD – Dundee’s Braden Whittaker (receiver) and Brayden Ratliff (offensive line, specialist) and Ida’s Jackson Wertenberger (offensive line) and Zach Lindsey (defensive end) were named first-team All-Lenawee County Athletic Association.
Second team selections were Ida’s Nathan Miller, Jeremiah Hoffman and Max Bushman and Dundee’s Ryan Zanger, Evan Imo and Jacob Fenbert.
Dundee’s Trey Parker and the Ida trio of Miller, Luke Lewicki and Kirby Karsten received honorable mention.
PREPARATION FOR FOOTBALL
Ida’s Schmitz unanimous
BLISSFIELD – Evan Schmitz was a unanimous selection for the All-Lenawee County Athletic Association team as selected by the league’s coaches.
He was joined in the first team by fellow Blue Streaks Grantham Nelson, Dustin Holycross and Dylan Holycross. Jackson Bolster and Titus Benson made the second team.
Ida shared the championship with Clinton.