Big Rapids edges out Morley Stanwood in five sets in annual Pink Out game

Morley Stanwood head coach Robin Kozuch (left) meets with former Morley Stanwood junior varsity coach and current Evart varsity coach Kate Nostrant (center) between sets during Monday’s match against Big Rapids. (Pioneer photo/Maxwell Harden)

MORLEY — Sporting events between area rivals Big Rapids and Morley Stanwood are always thrilling affairs.

Monday night’s volleyball matchup was no different as the Cardinals overcame a deficit in set four to win in five sets 25-18, 19-24, 23-25, 25-23, 15-6 over the Mohawks in the annual Pink Out game at Morley Stanwood High School.

“It was a lot of fun,” Big Rapids coach Chelsea Nelson said. “Almost every game was very close. I’m just glad we were able to finish. Morley Stanwood has a very scrappy team.”

Proceeds from the Pink Out event went to Evart head volleyball coach Kate Nostrant for medical costs. Nostrant, a former junior varsity coach at Morley Stanwood, was diagnosed with cancer in February. The Evart volleyball team was in attendance for the game along with Nostrant.

“What we were able to give to Katie was very exciting,” Morley Stanwood head coach Robin Kozuch said. “They didn’t play for her, but they know her and know all about her. There’s a lot of history there.”

The Mohawks won two of the first three sets and were up 20-13 in set four with hopes of closing out the match. But the Cardinals went on a 12-3 run to steal the set and send the match to a fifth set.

The Cardinals’ momentum continued in set five, with the Cardinals capitalizing on its size and Mohawk miscues to take the fifth set 15-6.

“Our timeouts tonight were strictly about our defensive play,” Nelson said. “We were playing out of our system the first three games and finding that intensity defensively allowed us to do our jobs. It came down to our intensity and our drive to want to win.”

“I thought that tonight was an example of a hard match to lose, but a great match to win,” Kozuch said. “It really could have gone either way. I’m really happy with how we played; A few times they (Big Rapids) just had stronger swings, bigger jumps, and a bigger block.”

Jayla Strickland led Big Rapids with 19 digs and 10 kills and Mackaela Klever had 15 kills and 17 digs, while Tegan Jones added 16 digs.

Brooke Brauher led Morley Stanwood with 13 kills, five aces, and 26 digs while Mikayla Moore had 22 assists, six digs, and three aces. Grace Szynkowski — who was honored tonight as Morley Stanwood’s lone senior — had 46 digs and Landrie LaPreze had three aces, while Abi Waldo tallied six kills.

Morley Stanwood travels to face Grant on Wednesday with a chance to clinch at least a share of the CSAA Silver championship. Big Rapids hosts Chippewa Hills tonight in Senior Night action.

“I told everybody to drink a lot of water and stretch,” Nelson said regarding playing back-to-back days. “We had a couple of girls cramping up. We’re going to have fun and hopefully play hard and win it for our seniors.”

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