Senior Avery Collins rises for a kill against Vandercook Lake, she finished with 11.

By: Seth Kinker,

 1993 was the last time Manchester Lady Dutch Volleyball team won a regional title and is the furthest the program has ever gone.

On Nov. 6, Manchester defeated the Vandercook Lake Jayhawks, 20-25, 25-18, 25-14, 25-15, for a chance to tie and surpass that 1993 team with a matchup against the Bath Fighting Bees on Nov. 8.


In their lone meeting in conference play this season on Sept. 4, Manchester took the game over the Jayhawks four sets as well. They came out with a slow start, an early season theme for this team, on Sept 4 and Nov. 6.

“I knew they (Vandercook Lake) were second strongest in our league,” said Manchester coach Trisca Beasley, who picked up her first regional win as Manchester head coach on her third try. “It was more of a mental push for our girls, in my opinion. I just needed them to know and have the confidence they could beat this team decisively.”

In the first set, Manchester fell behind early 6-3. They evened it back up at eight, but the Jayhawks forced a Manchester timeout leading 11-8. The Jayhawks controlled the middle portion of the first set, forcing another Manchester timeout with the lead now at 17-11.

Manchester made a push near the end of the game, including four points from junior Kayla Engel but fell 25-20.

Engel finished with 23 kills on the night to lead the team.

“We haven’t had to play the second game in a long time,” said Beasley on the team’s lackadaisical start with the 7:00 p.m. second semi-final game. “When they start that clock at 30 minutes, I know we need more than 30 minutes to warm up. That first set we, created errors, it wasn’t they played better in the first set than the other three, we had more errors. We cleaned up our errors and started swinging instead of tapping it over, playing our game instead of theirs.”

Set two was a role reversal, the team were tied early, but this time it was Manchester pulling away in the middle of the set. They took an early lead, but the Jayhawks forced a Manchester timeout with Manchester only holding a 12-11 lead. A 5-0 run capped off by a point from senior Hannah Woods forced a Jayhawks timeout but after that, it was all Manchester. They finished the game on an 8-2 run to win set two, 25-18 on a Jayhawks serve that went out of bounds.

Manchester won set three 25-14. Senior Stephanie Messman had multiple aces in the set, as she finished with five aces and Manchester won on a kill from Engel.

The last set was all Manchester, they jumped out to a 7-2 lead with a block from senior Jayden Humphrey forcing the timeout. Using a strong middle portion of the set to pull away again, the Jayhawks tried to slow the momentum, calling a timeout trailing 20-13. Manchester won that set 25-15, and the match, 3-1, on another ace from Messman.

Senior McKenna Good lead the team with four blocks, senior Kate Pohs lead the team in digs (15) and sophomore Kayla Ridenour led the team in assists (43).

“It feels pretty good,” said Beasley when asked about her first regional win with the program. “The girls are excited to do something that hasn’t been done in quite a while, their lifetime, for sure. It is pretty exciting. We’re not done yet.”

“This is a great group of girls, it’s not a one man show out there,” added Beasley. “Its definitely 12 girls doing the job, I don’t think we could win with just one for sure, we need everyone out there. This is the year that would be really sweet to do it for sure because they deserve it.”

Manchester faces Bath on 11/8 at 6 p.m. at Springport High School, with the winner facing the winner of the Brighton Charyl Stockwell Academy and Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central on Nov. 13 at Ann Arbor Huron.