By Jacob Szetela
The Huskies defeated the Bucs 25-13, 25-12, 25-22 in the Division 1 quarterfinal matchup. That brought Grand Haven’s tournament run to an end.
Forest Hills Northern moves into the state semifinals in Battle Creek on Friday and will battle Northville, which defeated Portage Northern in another quarterfinal match on Tuesday night.
The first set got off to a rocky start for the Buccaneers, who fell behind big off serving aces from junior setter, Grace Reidel, and dominant play from Northern senior middle, Kendall Hopewell.
Grand Haven fed their standout 6-3 freshman outside hitter, Mallory Woiteshek, early and often, but Northern was able to get good touches at the net that slowed things down enough and set up their powerful offensive attack.
Grand Haven was able to start to dig out of the significant hole, cutting the deficit to nine on multiple occasions, but it was too little too late in the first set.
The Buccaneers came out stronger in the second set as Northern made several critical mistakes on multiple rotation and double contact errors. That provided Grand Haven its first lead of the night. Grand Haven’s energy was fueled by several long volleys saved by digs from sophomore Nadia Prieditis and senior Taylor Smaka.
However, Northern proved their mettle as an experienced postseason team and broke the game open after a tight battling close reached double digits. That run didn’t seem to end until the Huskies had posted another set win.
The Buccaneers seemed determined to right the ship in the third set, which had been run aground most of the night.
Woiteshek gave fans a lot to look forward to in the coming years and began to plant balls into the hardwood. Senior outside Izzy Whittaker and senior middles Eden Smith and Melina Teunis did the same and sparked new life into the gym and pushed the third set down to the wire.
Despite those efforts, Forest Hills Northern proved to simply be too much to stop and the Huskies bested the Buccaneers for the victory.