By Dave Hart
But Kenowa Hills had other plans for the Sailors on their senior night.
The Knights ruined Mona Shores’ hopes to clinch the league volleyball championship with a straight set victory on Tuesday night in the final conference match of the season.
The Sailors, who finished the regular season 28-18 overall and 9-3 in league play, ended the in a tie with Fruitport for the league title.
“It was a very disappointing loss,” said VanderWall, whose team split two matches with Kenowa Hills this season. “Our team didn’t play a full set. We played three quarters of a set and then kind of fell apart at the end of the sets.
“I wanted to send the seniors off with a win, so hopefully we can do that on Monday night (in districts).”
Mona Shores will open the state tournament against Class A power Grand Haven on its home floor on Monday in the opening round of districts.
The Sailors got off to a good start in the first set, jumping out to a 4-1 lead on a service run by junior Sasha Poland.
Mona Shores led by scores of 7-3, 15-11 and 21-15, but Kenowa Hills rallied with a 10-2 run to steal the set 25-23 and the momentum.
Kenowa Hills continued to roll in the beginning of the second set, jumping out to a 5-1 lead. The Sailors responded with a 9-1 spurt on a long service run by senior Kaitlin Hermanson to take a 10-6 advantage.
The Knights tied the score, and the teams traded leads. The second set was tied 10 different times before the issue was settled.
Kenowa Hills finally pulled away with a 7-2 run, snapping an 18-18 deadlock and winning the second set 25-20.
Mona Shores led by as many as five points two different times (14-9 and 15-10) in the third set, but the Knights went on an 11-6 tear to tie the score 21-21.
Kenowa Hills finished off Mona Shores with a 5-3 run to take a 26-24 match-clinching victory.
Grace Hellman paced the Sailors with 11 kills, 12 digs and two aces while Haley Gartland led defensively with 18 digs. Hermanson chipped in with 24 assists for Mona Shores.