When Skyline walked out onto the floor last weekend to face Canton at the Northville Tournament, the Eagles were short a few players. Still, Skyline played extremely well at that tournament and showed they can win games even when they are shorthanded.
And that experience is only going to make the Eagles stronger when they take flight into the state playoffs. Skyline is ranked No. 5 in the Division 1 Associated Press rankings and has made deep playoff runs the last few years.
And while they do have a superstar in junior Harper Murray, the Eagles are not a one-player team. They have a roster full of players who can play the game and can win games even without their superstar – and they showed their great depth and great lineup Tuesday night against a very good Dexter team.
The Eagles swept the Dreadnaughts (25-14, 25-15 and 25-17) in a showdown of the top two teams in the SEC.
“There were a lot of players that contributed to our win (Tuesday) night,” said Skyline Coach Chris Cristian. “I was very pleased with how the girls played, with getting on the court and taking care of business and never looking back.”
And they did this against a Dexter team that walked into Skyline with a 23-2 overall record. So, yeah, the Dreadnaughts are pretty good. And the Eagles were not surprised at how good Dexter was – they were ready for them.
“Dexter is one of the strongest teams in our conference and we needed to be ready for them and our girls were more than ready,” Cristian said. “It was great having the whole team back.
“We are looking forward to making another big run in the state tournament but we have to take it one game at a time, and (Tuesday) night was our first step because most likely we will see them in the district playoff.”
Skyline will host District 19 (Nov. 1-6) that will indeed include Dexter along with Pioneer, Jackson, Jackson Northwest and Parma Western. The Dreadnaughts got to see their biggest challenge up close and personal on Tuesday and despite the outcome proved that they can play with the Eagles.
“Lessons learned for us,” says Dexter Coach Paul Palmer Burns. “I am glad we settled down as the match went on and were able to run some of our offense. We will build on that to continue to improve our speed of play.
“It’s back to work and we hope to see them in Districts.”
The game marked Harper’s return to the Eagles. The junior spent the previous two weeks playing with the U.S. U-18 Volleyball National Team where she helped her team earn a bronze medal.
Murray led the Eagles with 12 kills on Tuesday night, but Ayla Dunbar had 10 and Cari Bohm had nine proving the point that Skyline is a complete team that can beat you in many different ways and with many different players contributing.