By Dave Hart
Local Sports Journal

MUSKEGON – All teams in every sport have the ability to work hard.

But the ability to execute in pressure situations separates the good teams from the pack.

The Mona Shores volleyball team executed about as well as it could Saturday at the Greater Muskegon Athletic Association City Meet.

The Sailors defeated three teams, including Fruitport in three straight games in the title match, to capture the city title that eluded them last season.

“Events occur in the course of your season where your team figures things out,” said Mona Shores coach Dan Potts, whose team lost to Whitehall in last year’s finals. “It’s about execution and we did a good job executing today.

“Our goal is to continue to get better. Fruitport is a great team that was not on top of its game and we took advantage.”

The Sailors are now 29-9 overall. They’re in the thick of the fight for an O-K Black Conference title with a 5-1 league record.

But Saturday all thoughts of the conference were set aside. The Sailors were focused on challenging other teams from the Muskegon area and proving they were the best.

They started slowly in the championship match, falling behind Fruitport 15-10 before rallying for a 25-20 victory. Then Mona Shores made it look easy, cruising to 25-13 and 25-14 victories in the last two games.

Senior Courtney Brewer and freshman Grace Hellman were strong at the net throughout the match for the Sailors. Brewer led Mona Shores in the tournament with 35 kills.

Strong serving was another key for the Sailors. Hellman led the way with 20 service points, including 12 aces. Brewer added 13 service points in the finals.

“She (Hellman) was serving in a great rotation for her,” Potts said. “She was dynamite!”

Senior Jordyn Vilneff led the Sailors with 71 assists throughout the tournament and was second on the team with 26 digs behind Kennedy Potts, who totaled 37.

“It feels amazing,” Vilneff said about the city title. “It feels great to come back and win it in my senior year.”

Fruitport, which defeated Holton and defending champion Whitehall to reach the finals, is now 27-15 on the season.

The loss in the championship match was a diversion from an otherwise outstanding season. The Trojans have already wrapped up the Lakes 8 Conference regular season championship, and will be a favorite to win the league tournament next weekend.

“We sort of struggled in the last two games (of the championship match),” said Fruitport coach Nicole Bayle. “I don’t think we did a real good job of representing ourselves and what we’re capable of today. But that’s high school sports.”

Alyssa Viehl led the Trojans throughout the tournament with five aces and 75 assists.  Delaney Bennett and Claire McWilliams had 23 kills while Marissa Hassevort contributed 45 digs.