Ann Arbor Skyline Volleyball defeated Northville 3-1 in the quarterfinals
Northville knotted the score at 25, forcing third-placed Ann Arbor Skyline to call a timeout.
It only took the Mustangs two points to force a fifth set.
Coach Sarah Lindstrom reaffirmed her trust in her players during the break.
“We have them exactly where we want them,” the coach told her players in the first year. “We worked so hard to get to this point. We are two points away from making this a really long night for them.
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“Let’s go out and play to win. Let’s not fear the loss. Let’s leave it on the pitch.”
The insult didn’t come.
Skyline counted the next two points and won the Division 1 volleyball quarterfinals 3-1 at Dexter on Tuesday.
Northville, which dropped the first two sets, 25-15 and 25-19, was SO close to charging back and making the comeback.
The No. 7 Mustangs beat Skyline 25-23 in the third set. A win in that fourth set would have given them Mojo to go into the tiebreaker.
Instead, it was a 27:25 loss that brought their season to an end that included winning both the district and regional titles.
“This game could have ended either way,” said Lindstrom. “It was heartbreaking. But if we go out, that’s how we want to go out. We put ourselves in a position to accomplish our goal, which was to go to Battle Creek (for the state semifinals and championship later this week”) ). ”
Skyline meets Macomb Dakota at Kellogg Arena on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
The Eagles served aggressively for the first two sets. Northville couldn’t sort its serve fast enough to make every game competitive.
“They got us out of our system in the first two sets,” said Lindstrom. “I think that just annoyed us. … Your consistency was difficult for us, but it was a great match.”
Lindstrom went to her bank to turn things around. She put the twin sisters Mallory and Molly Reck on, who ignited the mustangs’ offense. Northville fed on her energies almost immediately.
“We loosened up,” added Lindstrom. “In the first two sets we were played off and we lacked offensive. We put the two newbies (the high bar twins) in to see if they could change what wasn’t working.
“They’re both gamers, and they’re both usually good when they get off the bank. They came out fearless.”
Northville graduated from six seniors.
Lindstrom, who won on her recent stints at Walled Lake Central and Divine Child, said those six were a key factor in restoring a winning culture within the program.
She couldn’t thank them enough for the foundation they have laid for future teams.
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“A lot of people thought we would do well because we had a good group of kids,” said Lindstrom. “But a culture had to be created in this gym. It was a struggle to be a different coach for them and bring in a different style of coaching. We thank them for believing in us and in the way we train, to trust.”
“I said to them, ‘It sucks for the seniors that this is the end of the road, but it’s the beginning of a volleyball dynasty here in Michigan.’ They worked hard to make this a special culture. ”
Brandon Folsom reports on high school sports in Metro Detroit for Hometown Life. Follow him on Twitter @folsombrandonj.