2012-11-26 / Sports

Broncos’ volleyball falls in state finals

BY ERIK HOHENTHANER
810-452-2641 •


The North Branch volleyball team celebrates being a 2012 Class B state finalist at Kellogg Arena on Nov. 17 after losing in three sets to Lake Odessa Lakewood. 
Photo by Kevin Gregory The North Branch volleyball team celebrates being a 2012 Class B state finalist at Kellogg Arena on Nov. 17 after losing in three sets to Lake Odessa Lakewood. Photo by Kevin Gregory BATTLE CREEK — The North Branch volleyball team entered last Saturday’s Class B state title match against Lake Odessa Lakewood as the underdog, a position it has not been in many times this season. The Broncos, ranked No. 2 in Div. 2, fell to No. 1 ranked Lakewood in straight sets, 20-25, 18-25, 17-25.

The Broncos finished as state runners up for the second time in three season, as they fell to Fruitport in 2010 in five sets. North Branch won the 2009 state title.

“This team achieved great things this year and we are really proud of being able to represent the community of North Branch in the state finals,” North Branch coach Jim Fish said. “North Branch is an outstanding school system and the student body and community really supports its young people. We had tremendous support from our student body and teaching staff as well as the administrative staff and this team does not get to the state finals without that support from the school.”

Lakewood has been ranked No. 1 the whole season and had the luxury of four four-year starters on its team. It had seven seniors total and played six on the court a majority of the time. Despite the experience edge that Lakewood had, the Broncos led set one, 19-17, before several unforced errors allowed Lakewood to close the set on a 8-1 run and lead 1-0 in the match.

North Branch trailed the whole way in set two, keeping it close early before Lakewood pulled away. In set three, the teams traded points and were tied at 16 before Lakewood ended the set on a 9-1 run to win its first state title.

Jamie Barrows led North Branch with 20 assists, three digs and two kills while Rachel Fish had 13 digs. Coming through with 11 kills was Micaela Deshetsky, Laura Willson had 10 kills, Ally Ruhlman made seven assists and six digs, Tiffany Walker and Victoria Severance combined for seven kills and Hannah Cheney, Mady Ruhlman and Alyson Light combined for one kill and 14 digs.

“We tried everything to hold Lakewood in check and just could never get into an offensive rhythm in the match,” Fish said. “I give them credit as they may be the best overall team in the state. For our team to have an opportunity to play in the state finals with nine sophomores and two juniors on the roster is an outstanding accomplishment. We will miss our four seniors (Deshetsky, Fish, Light and Ally Ruhlman) and thank them for doing such a great job of leading this team.”

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