By Darryl Warner
The Skyline volleyball team has been on a roll lately.
Last Saturday, the Eagles hosted a tournament and won the Gold Bracket in two sets over Ida High School. The Eagles proved to be a formidable opponent as they did not drop a set throughout pool play in the morning or in the afternoon Gold Bracket.
On Tuesday evening, the Eagles traveled to Saline to take on the Hornets marking the third time the two teams have faced each other this season. The Eagles won the two previous occasions. The most dominant win occurred when the Eagles beat Saline in two straight sets at the Northville tournament a month ago.
Despite the packed gymnasium and crowded student section Tuesday night the Eagles proved they could play in a loud and intimidating environment. The Eagles remained poised throughout the match and beat Saline in three straight sets, 25-19, 25-12, and 25-19.
Skyline’s victory over Saline marked the Eagles first SEC Red Division Championship in school history.
McKenna Pfeffer’s ace, four assists and kills from Stacie Warner to Kendall Murray, kill from Sasha Akuzue, and a couple of net serves from Saline helped Skyline take a 10-4 lead. The Eagles maintained a lead at 17-11 behind the kills of Akuezue, Claire Davis and Harper Murray.
The Hornets proved to be no pushover as they fought back and closed the lead to 18-16. Not wanting to lose the lead and quiet the thunderous cheers of the Saline student section, Coach Chris Cristian called timeout. Skyline scored immediately after the time out with an assist from Warner to Kendall Murray. Skyline won the first set 25-19 when an attempted kill by Saline flew beyond the end line.
Skyline’s momentum carried forward in set two as the Eagles jumped out to a 3-0 lead on kills from Kendal and Harper Murray and a tip from Warner.
Saline bounced back and tied the score at four points apiece after Skyline hit the ball into the net. Skyline scored three consecutive points to take a 7-4 lead following a block by Akuezue.
Saline scored on a kill to the back corner of the court to close the gap to 7-5. Skyline then went on a 7-2 point run to increase their lead to 14-7, which was highlighted by assists from Warner to Harper Murray and an ace from Megan Brummett. With a seven point lead and the threat of set two getting away from them the Hornets called time out. Skyline continued their dominant play taking a 19-8 lead over the Hornets. Saline called another time out but they could only score four more points. Skyline won set two, 25-12 following an attempted kill from Saline that outside of the antennae.
Saline, motivated to not lose in three straight sets, took a 7-5 lead over the Eagles. The Eagles tied the score 8-8 on Brummet’s second ace of the match. Saline held a one point lead at 11-10 before they scored two consecutive points to take a 13-10 lead.
Coach Cristian called a crucial time out to stop Saline from opening a bigger lead. Regaining their composure Skyline answered with an assist from Warner to Akuezue to close the lead to 13-11. Saline answered with two more points to take a 15-11 lead. Behind the ace of Kendall Murray, a block by Akuezue, and a kill from Harper Murray Skyline regained the lead at 16-15 and never relinquished the lead again.
Saline called time out when Skyline took an 18-16 lead after a kill by Harper Murray. Skyline outscored Saline 7-3 in the final 10 points of the set and won set three 25-19.
Skyline’s final 7 points were highlighted by two kills and an ace from Harper Murray, and a game ending kill from Kendall Murray.
This weekend Skyline travels to Mt. Morris for another tournament before playing a quad match on Monday evening in Southfield. Tuesday evening Skyline will host an SEC Division crossover match against Ypsilanti High School at 7 p.m.