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Bailey Surque (6) of Columbia Central High School led the Golden Eagles with 10 kills in the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 3 regional volleyball final on Thursday at home.  Photo by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports.

By Jeff Steers
JTV Sports

Somewhere down the road the three-set loss to Bronson High School in the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 3 regional final at home will pay off for the Columbia Central High School volleyball team.

But it ended in tears for CCHS on Thursday night.

Bronson defeated CCHS 25-14, 25-23, and 26-24 to advance to the next round. Bronson – winners of four of the last five Division 3/Class C state volleyball titles – advances to the quarterfinals on Tuesday.

CCHS finishes the season with a 19-10 record.

“I told our girls I was the proudest coach in the gym,” CCHS coach Jenny Tompkins said. “We are only losing one senior … we are coming back and going to states.”

CCHS has only been practicing on the hardwood for two months. COVID-19 restrictions kept volleyball teams out of gymnasiums. The Golden Eagles built their own outdoor court, but did not pick varsity, junior varsity, and freshmen teams until the Golden Eagles could get inside.

Bronson looked like they would make quick work of the Golden Eagles in game one. The Vikings jumped out to a 13-3 lead in the first set, but CCHS battled back to within four points at 13-9.

But Haylie Wilson served five consecutive points for BHS to pull out the 11-point win in game one.

CCHS turned it up in game two, taking n 11-3 lead at one point. Serving by Ava Lyke and kills by Allie Jarchow led CCHS to a lead late in the game. But Skye Woodman took over from Bronson with a kill and block late in game two, pulling out the win.

Bronson took a 7-3 lead in game three, but CCHS pulled even at 9-all on a kill by Bailey Surque.

CCHS lead 20-15 in game three, but the Vikings outscored them 11-4 down the stretch.

“I think they (Bronson) intimidated them,” Tompkins said. “We watched them on Tuesday and they have a great middle hitter in Woodman.

“We missed some key serves late in both of those games.”

Surque finished with 10 kills to lead CCHS, Kenadee Tompkins finished with 14 assists, and Lyke tallied three aces.

Sydnee Miller hung in there in the back row, collecting 60 digs in the contest.

Bronson (18-13) will face Monroe St. Mary on Tuesday at Whitmore Lake High School beginning at 6 p.m. State semifinals are next Thursday and state championship games are Nov. 21 at Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek.

Columbia Central High School Coach Jenny Tompkins is intense during a timeout at the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 3 regional volleyball final on Thursday at home. JTV Sports.

Columbia Central High School volleyball player Audrey Beal (10) splits a pair of Bronson High School players with a spike during the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 3 regional volleyball final at CCHS. Photo by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports.

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