BEAVERTON – Unscored upon? No, this isn’t the 1973 Arthur Hill football team, but the Beavers sure were dominant in the Jack Pine this year. They finished 14-0 dropping only one set along the way, 24-26 to Gladwin. They head into the playoffs with a 41-1-1 record with their only loss coming to Freeland early in the season, a loss they avenged two weeks ago at a tournament in St. Louis.
When talking about his team Coach Steve Evans said, “They play like they are on a mission,” and they sure looked like it last Wednesday night. The Beavers traveled to Farwell to play the host team along with Meridian and Shepherd in the final Jack Pine Conference Quad of the year. Beaverton made quick work of the competition winning all three matches in two sets. They beat Shepherd 25-9, 25-26, Farwell 25-11, 25-12 and Meridian 25-9, 25-6.
The play of a couple of players stood out Wednesday. Averie Bassage had three outstanding digs against Farwell’s “big outside hitter” Soyer Barnett and Logan Matthews had nine straight points in game one against Meridian and seven straight in game two. She had 9 aces on the night. Molly Gerow had 30 kills, 17 digs and 5 aces. Mady Pahl had 57 assists and Macie Jerome added 15 digs. Bassage had 11 more digs for a total of 14. Hannah Sterns had 13 kills Becca Wirt had 10.
Faith Danielak continues to improve, as she gets more comfortable filling in for Raylin Jenkins. She had 8 kills and seems to constantly get her fingers on the ball when blocking. Evans was also able to get some of his younger players in the game. Leiyah Mungin and Sawyer Gerow were brought up from the JV team and got a taste of the action.
“Our JPC mission is accomplished, but this team is hungry,” said Evans. “They aren’t satisfied. I can’t wait to start the postseason.” The postseason starts next week back in Farwell. The Beavers drew a first round by and will not play until tonight when they face Harrison.at 6 p.m. The district has a definite Jack Pine flavor because all five teams participating are members of the conference. Meridian and Farwell kick things off on Monday night with the winner facing Pinconning in the second game on Wednesday. The survivors will meet n the district championship game Thursday night at 6 p.m.
Beaverton made a long run in the playoffs last year reaching the regional finals before falling to Beal City. While the expectation from the outside is for another long run the Beavers “don’t talk about it,” according to Evans. “The most important match is the next one. So right now all the focus is on Harrison.” The teams are familiar with each other having already played twice this year with the Beavers winning both. Harrison “serves well and can hit if they are in system,” according to Evans. “They are not a team to be taken lightly.”
If Beaverton does get out of the district chances are they will probably see a familiar foe in Beal City, the Highland Conference champion. Manton, another possible regional opponent lost to Beal City in the league championship. Former jack Pine Conference member, Houghton Lake, is another possible regional opponent.
The girls are excited for the playoffs to begin. They feel some pressure, but know that if they play up to their potential they will be tough to beat. As they prepare they will focus primarily on their own play. The goal is to make the opponents adjust to them. If they can accomplish this they will go a long way.