Local Sports Journal

Muskegon Catholic is in the midst of its golden era in volleyball.

The Crusaders have won six district titles in school history, but five were won in the past five years.

Muskegon Catholic's Zee Harris on the tip. Photo/Tim Reilly
Muskegon Catholic’s Zee Harris on the tip. Photo/Tim Reilly

The latest came Friday, when MCC overcame a bad first game to beat Fruitport Calvary Christian 3-1 and claim the Class D district title on their opponents’ home court.

While the Crusaders have been dominant in districts, they’ve never made it through regionals. They will try to end that trend beginning Tuesday when they play Fowler in the regional semifinals in Grant.

“We really feel this is the year we can make history and get that first regional banner up,” said first year MCC Coach Laura Farrell. “We know our passing, serving and hitting will have to be on, but we’re going to work as hard as we can to get to that point.”

MCC’s record – 11-15-3 – may not sound very impressive, particular for a team hoping to make a long tournament run. But the Crusaders played a tough regular season schedule against a lot of bigger schools.

Some of the toughest competition was in the Lakes 8 Conference, which MCC joined this season.

“They play very good volleyball in the Lakes 8,” Farrell said. “We knew that going in. We knew all the way back to last summer that we would have to tread through and keep getting better and it would pay off in the postseason.”

The Crusaders started slow against Calvary Christian, losing the first game 26-24, but rallied to capture the next three games, 25-19, 25-7 and 25-14.

Muskegon Catholic celebrates after the Class D district championship win. Photo/Tim Reilly

Muskegon Catholic celebrates after the Class D district championship win. Photo/Tim Reilly

“The first game we weren’t playing to our pace,” Farrell said. “I think the girls were a little too tense. We do our best when we just go out and play volleyball. But the girls fixed it after that. We were ready for game two.”

MCC used its power game to take control of the match. The Crusaders had 40 kills as a team, with Zhane Harris leading the way with 17, Caroline Harris adding 11 and Annika Tyler chipping in nine.

Harris also had six blocks and 16 digs, Deanna Detorres had 39 assists and four serving aces, Isabel Bertolone had four aces and Zoie Price contributed 10 digs.

“We’ve been working with our hitters all season and moving people around, and in recent weeks our hitting has really come into its own,” Farrell said. “We tend to spread the kills around to four or five players. When everyone is hot it certainly helps.”