Lions Volleyball Earns First Conference Championship Since 2000
By Alexis Mercer
In a gym with fewer fans than any other year would have drawn for such a big accomplishment, the Newaygo Lions Varsity Volleyball team earned their first Conference Championship for the school since 2000.
With many big wins coming the last three weeks in their CSAA matchups, the Lions fought their way to the top, sharing the title with Central Montcalm and Fremont. The last time Newaygo won a volleyball Conference Title it was under the tutelage of Hall of Fame Coach Mary Reese-Pumford.
The much anticipated game began with a decisive win for the Lions with a score of 25-14. Their passing was on point as senior setter Emma Reyburn dished out assists to hitters Lillian Ruehmeier, Kendall Mathis, Rylee Maat, Sydney Maat and Lily Swinehart left, right and center. Defensive specialist Emmerson Goodin filled holes on the court, coming up with digs in all positions. Senior Haleigh Schmitt rounded out the Lions' starting lineup with rock solid serve receiving.
Knowing the Vikings had taken both Fremont and Grant to five sets in their conference matchups, the Lions were ready for Tri County to fight back in the second game. Though the score was closer at 25-21, the Lions prevailed.
In the final of the three game set, all the players on the Lions' roster got to see the floor and Newaygo pulled out a straight sweep for the night and the right to put another trophy in the case in the hallways at NHS.
Coach Kristin Melvin, an NHS alumnus, was a freshman in high school the last time Newaygo won their last Championship. When asked about the honor of earning the title, Coach Melvin responded with "It's exactly that, an honor!". "The girls have worked very hard for this opportunity and it is always great to be a part of a championship team. This senior class has left their mark on this program, and hopefully what is the start of something great."
The Lions play against the winner of the first round District game (Sparta vs. Coopersville) on Wednesday, November 4th in Sparta.