A big step forward

Mohawks prove they can play with the best at invitational

MORLEY — The most important win of the season just might have occurred Saturday for the Morley Stanwood volleyball team.

The Mohawks have traveled to big tournaments all season, but haven’t been able to get a win against a top-level opponent.

That is until Saturday — and it happened in the semifinal round of their own invitational.

Morley Stanwood was able to rally from a six-point deficit in the third and decisive game to record the victory over Frankenmuth before falling to Whitehall in the championship game, 25-17, 25-14.

GOING UP: Mekayla Carey (left) attempts to knock a ball over the net on Saturday. Morley Stanwood reached the final of the invite before falling to Whitehall. (Pioneer photo/Bob Allan)

It was the match against Frankenmuth that put a smile on coach Robin Kozuch’s face.

“We needed a win against a good team and Frankenmuth is a good team,” Kozuch said about the Eagles who are ranked No. 7 in Class B. “We’ve been playing well at tournaments, but we didn’t get that win against a strong team.

“To come from behind, that’s big step for us,” she continued.

Morley Stanwood dropped the first game to Frankenmuth 25-21 and fought off a match point in the second set before recording a 27-25 win. The Eagles jumped out to a 12-6 lead in the third game only to watch the Mohawks’ Sam Carey serve nine straight points to pull out the victory and advance to the championship contest.

“To come from behind four or five points, it’s important for a team to experience that,” Kozuch said. “Last year, we had to do that against Monroe St. Mary’s (in the Class C championship game). The girls need to experience that because that’s going to happen

(in the postseason).”

Morley Stanwood went 3-0 in pool play, defeating Cedar Springs 25-20, 25-18, Detroit Cass Tech 25-19, 22-25, 15-10 and Charlevoix 25-20, 25-18.

That put the Mohawks first in their pool and a spot in the semifinal, where they faced Frankenmuth.

Morley Stanwood won, and then faced Whitehall, which is No. 2 in Class B.

Though the Vikings won easily, in terms of score, the Mohawks’ Kayla Rosman thought the team played well.

“We knew they were No. 2, but we just have to remember they are the same age as we are,” she said. “I thought we played well. We weren’t over our heads, we held our own.”

“What I was most impressed with was not being intimidated against the good teams, regardless of who they were,” Kozuch said.

Morley Stanwood was led by Kayla Rosman with 37 kills, four aces and seven blocks, while Mekayla Carey finished with 32 kills, 20 blocks, seven aces and 43 digs.

Sam Carey added 43 digs, while Lindsey Veersma and Andi Paulson led the way in assists, with 42 and 40 respectively.

Morley Stanwood is in action Wednesday when it hosts Big Rapids.

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