Watch as Marian wins the second consecutive state volleyball title by defeating Skyline
BATTLE CREEK, MI – After winning the state championship last year without a single senior on the squad, Bloomfield Hills Marian came to the Kellogg Arena for the 2021 Michigan volleyball state final with great expectations and a goal on his back.
Not once did the weight seem too heavy when the top-ranked Mustangs beat Ann Arbor Skyline 3-1 on Saturday to win their second straight state title and fourth in program history.
PHOTOS: Check out our gallery from the championship game Marian vs. Skyline
Marian opened with a 25:18 win in Game 1, but Skyline bounced back with a 25:22 win in Game 2 after nine kills from Junior Harper Murray, a University of Nebraska commitment considered the nation’s best player in the Class that will be classified in 2023.
Murray was the early favorite for Michigan’s 2022 Miss Volleyball Prize, going with Marian’s 2021 Miss Volleyball winner Ava Brizard, a North Carolina engagement, with each player with 25 kills in the end, but in the end the Mustangs’ championship experience paid off against a Skyline team playing in their first championship game.
Marian won games 3 and 4 with 25-18 and 25-19 points, and when Sarah Sylvester’s final kill fell out of the hands of a Skyline player and was out of the game, Mustangs trainer Mayssa Cook breathed a sigh of relief.
“I’ve felt this tremendous pressure all season,” Cook told the MHSAA in the second half. “As a coach, you like to think that you have more control than you. I tried to carry so much of it for them – I knew they had a lot on their plate and a lot on themselves. I have to say I was so impressed with their serenity and the way they handled stress all season. I absolutely know that the four seniors on this team (Brizard, Sylvester, Janiah Jones and Sophie Treder) are very ready to play roles on the next level. Most of the girls who go to college don’t have the level of experience and play under pressure that they had. That is why we as a school are extremely proud of them. “
Skyline’s trip to Battle Creek was the second in three years, although the Eagles failed to make the 2019 title game and lost in three sets to eventual national champions Farmington Hills Mercy.
They graduate six seniors, including starters Lauren Lee (setter), Sophie Schrag (middle hitter), Emili Gensheimer (libero), Cari Bohm (middle hitter) and Jordan Hall (libero), but the Eagles should be on a return trip to Battle Creek behind the mighty swings of Murray.
“I think our focus this year was to get to Battle Creek and be in the finals and give every team on the other side a fight,” said Skyline coach Chris Christian. “I’m proud of these ladies because they gave Marian a fight. It wasn’t like two years ago when we were here and we just weren’t mentally ready, not properly equipped. This time we were ready, and I think, for them to see that anything is possible, where this program began five years ago, we’ve come a long way. We still have room for growth. “
Watch the video above or click here to see the winning point in Marian’s second consecutive state title.
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