Mohawks again poised for deep run

MORLEY – Robin Kozuch chooses her words carefully.

The Morley Stanwood volleyball coach has heard the whispers that she should win multiple state championships with the help of 6-foot, 2-inch middle hitter Alexis Huntey.

In Huntey’s first two years the Mohawks fell to eventual Class C champion Schoolcraft in five games in the quarterfinal round. The next season, Morley Stanwood loss in four games in the regional semifinal to St. Louis.

Then there is last year.

The Mohawks were bumped up to Class B, the smallest school in the class. Morley Stanwood put together a strong effort all season, defeating the best in the state including Class B power Marysville, Class A juggernaut Jenison as well as Peotskey, Alma, Cadillac and East Grand Rapids.

PREPARATION: Morley Stanwood's Alexis Huntey bumps a ball during practice. (Pioneer photo/Bob Allan)

The Mohawks season came to an end in the regional semifinal, however, to eventual state champion Fruitport on Morley Stanwood’s home court.

It was a tough pill to swallow for the Mohawks, who watched Pine River and St. Louis reach the Class C semifinal — two teams Morley Stanwood defeated soundly during the course of the regular season.

The Mohawks easily could have been in the semifinal in Class C, if not win the title.

“If we had been in Class C last year, we probably would have fared better than in (Class) B, but I have no regrets being in Class B,” Kozuch said. “I thought it was a great experience to move up to Class B. I can’t complain, we lost to the state champs, but I’m excited to be in Class C this year.”

That is because Morley Stanwood should be loaded once again.

Huntey, who is going to George Washington University next year and figures to be a top-10 player in the state, will be switched to the outside this fall. The Mohawks also return setter Bailey Cairnduff, outside hitter Brett Cheseboro, middle hitter Alyssa Nelson and setter Melissa Holland.

Those players alone have Kozuch optimistic that the Mohawks can make another long postseason run. Add in players moved up from the junior varsity squad and Kozuch is giddy about this season.

However, Kozuch chooses her words carefully again when it comes to winning a state championship. Instead, she talks about how the move up to Class B will help her squad when it comes to the tournament.

“Being in (Class) B and playing those Class A schools, it gives the girls confidence that they can play any level of volleyball and be successful,” she said. “Going up to B, we know we can play with whoever is on the other side of the court. That should help us this season.”

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