TC St. Francis Eyes Return to Battle Creek
TRAVERSE CITY – For the second straight season, the Traverse City St. Francis volleyball program finds itself one win away from reaching the state finals in Battle Creek.
A semifinalist a year ago, the fifth-ranked Gladiators will meet Calumet Tuesday at Charlevoix in a rematch of last year’s quarterfinal, which St. Francis won in three sets.
Unlike a year ago when the Gladiators went untested until falling to Bronson in the Class C state semifinals, St. Francis was challenged throughout district and regional play. The Gladiators won a district title with a four-set win over Grand Traverse Academy and then rallied from a two-set deficit to defeat McBain in a regional semifinal. Even in Thursday’s regional final with Charlevoix, the Gladiators found themselves trailing after the opening set.
"I think we took away that we need to start real hard, and just like get right into it, rather than like just easing our way into the game,” St. Francis junior Meghan Rysztak said. “We’ve got to just push hard right at the beginning."
"We knew we had the skill to get there, and we knew that it was going to take… we knew that we were going to have to work for it,” added junior Caroline Peacock. “I think that we definitely worked towards that goal. And we all have the common goal of getting back to Kellogg."
Tuesday’s winner will face either second-ranked and defending state champion Bronson or No. 9 Laingsburg Thursday at 3:45 p.m.