Plymouth beats CGA, falls to St. Joe at volleyball sectional

PLYMOUTH — Close, but no cigar.
The Lady Pilgrims reached the championship at their home Class 3A Plymouth Sectional with a four-game win over Culver Girls Academy but fell short of the crown with a loss in another four-gamer against South Bend St. Joseph’s Saturday.
ST. JOSEPH’S 3, PLYMOUTH 1 (25-22, 19-25, 25-20, 25-23)
St. Joe unseated five-time defending champion Mishawaka Marian in the morning, then held off a surging Plymouth squad for the title in four back-and-forth sets in the sectional finale at The Rock, 25-22, 19-25, 25-20, 25-23.
“That’s the way this game is, 22-22, 23-23, it comes down to a couple points and you just try to keep playing hard and get strong swings on the ball,”said Plymouth Head Volleyball Coach Doug West. “I thought we fought really hard, they did too. We definitely played to win; we didn’t play not to lose. We didn’t play nervous or tight. I thought we played like we felt like we could win the match, which is what we should’ve done. I was happy with the girls really competing hard and playing to win.”
“No one in this group got this far, so it’s nice,” said St. Joe head coach Kathey Mossey. “For only having three seniors, it was nice to see the younger girls step up, but we had senior leadership tonight with Katie Hecklinski. She did a really nice job, and where we needed it she pulled through and got some kills. We were a little timid; we missed a couple serves and passing was questionable, but they pulled through.”
Hecklinski finished with a match-high 30 kills with 41 digs for the Indians.
Plymouth saw a balanced attacking performance led by Andria Shook’s 17 kills as Marissa German put away 12 kills, Amber Redinger finished with seven, and Carly Baker registered five. German and Shook each finished with two aces, while Mikayla German put five digs to target, and freshman Haley Harrell set 38 assists in the championship loss.
The Pilgrims bid goodbye to just two seniors in outside attacker Kori Potoczky and defensive specialist Kelly Hoeffler following the team’s 21-15 finish in West’s first year at the helm.
“You always want to advance, but it really is a good way to end the season in terms of playing really hard and playing well against an excellent team and fighting hard, learning how to win points, learning how to win long rallies,” West said.
“Great season, the girls played hard, and I thought we accomplished a lot of our goals. Our two seniors did great things for us. They’ll definitely be missed. A DS player and an O player, and they did a nice job for us this year. They’re both good kids and hard workers. They finished strong. Both I thought played well tonight and played well at the sectional, so it was good for them. I think they’ll have good memories of that.”
• ST. JOSEPH’S 3, PLYMOUTH 1 (25-22, 19-25, 25-20, 25-23)
At Class 3A Plymouth Sectional championship
Plymouth stats
Kills: Andria Shook 17, Marissa German 12, Amber Redinger 7, Carly Baker 5
Aces: German 2, Shook 2, Mikayla German 1
Assists: Haley Harrell 38
Digs: Mikayla German 5
Blocks: Redinger 3 BS, 1 BA; Shook 1 BA, 1 BS; Kori Potoczky 1 BS, 1 BA
St Joe stats
Kills: Kathryn Hecklinski 30, Lauren Gillis 10, Brianna Szymczak 10
Aces: Gillis 5, Michelle Potter 4
Assists: Potter 46
Digs: Chelsea Suppinger 57, Hecklinski 41
Records: St. Joe 24-10, Plymouth 21-15 (final)

PLYMOUTH 3, CGA 1 (27-25, 25-23, 20-25, 25-18)
The Pilgrims grabbed the early momentum with a 27-25 win in an extended first set, then moved to a two-game lead with another close win in game two en route to a 27-25, 25-23, 20-25, 25-18 sectional semifinal victory over Culver Girls Academy Saturday morning.
“In those tight matches, it just comes down to who executes a little bit better on a few key plays, and my hat’s off to Plymouth in terms of their execution,” said CGA head coach Matt Bolland. “When they need to today, they got the job done. They were able to close out both of those first two sets, and I think in the end those two probably made the difference.”
“I was very happy that in the fourth game we started to take more control, we started to attack real strong, we started to take care of the ball on our side of the court and get the ball to our setters so we could get some good swings at the ball,” West said. “That was the difference. We served consistently, took them out of system. As that fourth game wore on we took them out of system more, and that was part of it too. I’m happy that we won.”
Plymouth was led by Amber Redinger and Carly Baker’s 11 kills each, while Andria Shook finished with 10. Haley Harrell set 33 assists to the Pilgrims attackers and finished with 10 digs behind Shook’s 12, while Marissa German served up a pair of aces, Kori Potoczky recorded an ace and three blocks, and Baker also finished with three blocks.
The Eagles were led by Katie Bjornson’s 14 and Abby Jeffirs’ 13 kills, while Torrie Christlieb put away nine, and Emily Rich had eight. Emily Gilland set 44 assists, while Andrea Lin led the team in digs with 23.
CGA closed out the year with an outstanding 25-7 record and now loses three seniors in Rich, Gilland and Lin.
“This team was a team of people who worried more about the team than about the individual,” said Bolland. “That said I have to mention our three seniors. Our setter Emily Gilland, I thought she did a great job all season with leadership. Our libero Andrea Lin, and Emily Rich, our middle hitter, really had an outstanding game. I really felt like she probably played above and beyond her normal game, what the expectations for her were. I think they came and they did what we expect them to do, day in and day out.
“It’s hard because that was the most important match we were playing because it was right now, but I think as we look back and reflect on the season, there is a lot to be proud about, and I’m certainly proud of the team in their effort all year.”
• PLYMOUTH 3, CULVER GIRLS ACADEMY 1 (27-25, 25-23, 20-25, 25-18)
At Class 3A Plymouth Sectional semifinal
Plymouth stats
Kills: Amber Redinger 11, Carly Baker 11, Andria Shook 10
Aces: Marissa German 2, Kori Potoczky 1
Assists: Haley Harrell 33
Digs: Shook 12, Harrell 10
Blocks: Potoczky 1 BS, 2 BA; Baker 1 BS, 2 BA
CGA stats
Kills: Katy Bjornson 14, Abby Jeffirs 13, Torrie Christlieb 9, Emily Rich 8
Aces: Paige Baldacci 2, Emily Gilland 2, Sarah Boland 1, Andrea Lin 1, Jeffirs 1
Assists: Gilland 44
Digs: Andrea Lin 23, Jeffirs 13, Bjornson 10, Baldacci 7
Blocks: Christlieb 10, Madison 9, Rich 6
Records: Plymouth 21-14, CGA 25-7 (final)