Re-set: MHSAA shutdown actually prolonged Skyline’s playoff run

It’s hard to believe but when the MHSAA shut down sports on Nov. 16 it actually prolonged the Skyline volleyball team’s 2020 season. The Eagles were flying through the postseason when the MHSAA suspended its Fall tournaments for girls volleyball, girls swimming & diving and football per the emergency order to pause activity by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The Eagles had just won the Division 1 Regional 5 title at Dexter because of a forfeit by Temperance Bedford in the finals after the Kicking Mules had a positive COVID-19 test. But days leading up to their state quarterfinal game with Novi, the Eagles experienced a positive test and were going to have to forfeit.

“Right before the shutdown happened we had a player test positive and we were going to have to disqualify ourselves,” said Skyline Coach Chris Cristian. “The game was cancelled so we didn’t have to play and forfeit the game. We were fortunate the closure happened when it did because it gave us the opportunity to play again. We didn’t think it was going to take this long to get back but the health of our players is what’s important.”

Cristian reports that the Eagles have a clean bill of health and everyone is doing well and eager to get back on the court.

“Our player who tested positive had very mild symptoms at the beginning and she has been healthy and good to go now for several weeks,” Cristian said.

MHSAA rules requires any player who tests positive to quarantine for 14 days after testing positive along with anyone who has come within close contact with that person. Therefore, the Eagles would not have been able to play for two weeks following the positive test.

The last time the Eagles were on the court in a game was Nov. 10 when they spiked Trenton 3-0 in a Regional semifinal game at Dexter. They returned to practice on Monday and began getting the kinks out and hopefully getting back to the groove they established early in the playoffs.

“The girls are back in the gym working hard and getting ready to do what we can to get back in sync,” Cristian said. “We are getting used to being back on the court and working on the fundamentals and shake off some of the rust. Everyone is excited to be back and looking forward to trying to get back to the Final Four.”

Skyline will face Novi at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Lincoln HS. The game will be live streamed HERE

Skyline’s season ended last year in the Final Four and the Eagles would like another chance to make a run at a state title.

“Novi is in the same boat as we are and they haven’t practiced in a while so it will come down to which team is less rusty,” Cristian said.

The Eagles were ranked eighth in the state prior to the shutdown.

The winner of the Skyline-Novi game will play Lowell in a state semifinal game on Jan. 15 at Battle Creek. Portage Central was forced to forfeit its quarterfinal game with Lowell.

The other side of the bracket features Bloomfield Hills Marian vs. Macomb Dakota, and Grand Blanc vs. Clarkston. One of the teams to beat is Marian who defeated Farmington Hills Mercy 3-2 in a Regional final.

The state finals are at 2 p.m. on Jan. 16 at Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek.