TC Christian sweeps past NMC in D4 regional | Sports
BUCKLEY – Yes, it was a win for senior Traverse City Christian in Tuesday’s MHSAA Division 4 regional semifinals against Northern Michigan Christian, as many expected.
But probably nobody had expected how competitive the Comets would make the match.
Yes, the Sabers won to move into the regional finals against Midland Calvary Christian on Thursday, but the results show what kind of game it was: 25-22, 25-23, 25-23.
TC Christian won the first set with three points and the second and third sets with two points, propelled by the screeching missiles fired from the front and back rows by Senior Emma Mirabelli. NMC wasn’t quite able to pull out a win, but it didn’t detract from the effort, noted Comet trainer Ann Veldink.
“The girls rose to the challenge and fought all the way,” said Veldink.
“It was quite an accomplishment and I’m so proud of how far these girls have come. Last year we hardly won any games and this year we won the district and put up a real fight for one of the best teams in the country. “
NMC didn’t allow the Sabers to develop a big lead in the first or third set. Both sets showed seesaw scores and multiple times when the score was a tie. In the second set it initially seemed like TC Christian was going to win by a crooked margin, but the Comets bounced back from an 18-9 deficit to eventually draw within one point, 24-23, before losing.
In the opening set, the scores were 3, 4, 5, 11, 17, 21 and 22. A kill from outside hitter Jada VanNoord, a block from middle hitter Megan Bennett and a kill from senior Maggie Yount in the late game set kept the Comets in Striking distance, but the Sabers managed to pull it out in the end.
In the second set it was a tip from VanNoord, a kill from Paige Ebels and a tip from Bennett that put the Comets within five points of 20-15. Another kill from VanNoord and a block from Yount shortened the lead to 21-18 and a block from Bennett shortened Saber’s lead to 23-20. Mirabelli scored two of TC Christian’s last three points with kills to allow her team to pull it out and take a confident 2-0 lead.
The third set was tight the whole time and neither team was able to get more than two points ahead of the other until late. An ace from Alaina Rozeveld tied the match at 14. Another well-placed tip from Bennett, which ended in a team high of eight kills on the night followed by a kill from Senior Emma Shaarda, gave NMC a brief 17-15 lead. TC Christian rallied, however, and again it was Mirabelli’s well-placed missiles that led the way. The Sabers took the lead 24-20 behind an ace from Revekah Burch, but NMC came out one last time after a timely return from Ebels, a diving parade from Libero Sol Pacheco, and a return from Rozeveld that landed in the right place at NMC bring inside a point, 24-23. It was fitting that Mirabelli’s last kill of the night gave her last victory.
The game featured a series of long volleys and parades on both courts. Rozeveld stood out in the serve-receiving department, preventing several of Mirabelli’s tough deliveries from turning into kills. Ebels, VanNoord and Pacheco also made the floor in the back row commendable.
Bennett finished five blocks from her eight kills and Yount had three blocks. Ebels scored seven kills that night with a team high of 16 digs and Pacheco recorded 14 digs. Yount earned two aces, while Bennett and Rozeveld each recorded an ace.
NMC concludes the 2021 season with a 21-10-2 mark and a district title.