Southfield Christian eyeing another postseason run

By: Zachary Manning | Southfield Sun | Published October 2, 2019

 Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Southfield Christian’s Emily Van Dyke spikes the ball against Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest Sept. 26. The Eagles won 3-0.

 Southfield Christian’s Caitlin Warnshuis plays the ball. At press time, the Eagles were 10-1-1 overall.

Southfield Christian’s Caitlin Warnshuis plays the ball. At press time, the Eagles were 10-1-1 overall.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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SOUTHFIELD — The Southfield Christian volleyball team got a taste of the big stage last season.

The Eagles advanced to a Division 4 state semifinal match, but lost to eventual champion Mendon High. The Eagles finished the season with a 27-10-3 mark.

Even with the loss, it was a chance to see what playing at the highest levels was like. They’ve learned from it, moved on and are ready for another chance.

This year’s team isn’t much different from the 2018 group. Players such as Emily Van Dyke, Caitlin Warnshuis and Rachel Stiteler have returned to give the Eagles a veteran presence.

They’ve seen what it takes to make it near the top. Now they’re hoping to be back and this time come home with a trophy.

“I think since we already were in it, now we’re a little bit more prepared for what’s going to happen in the future,” Warnshuis said.

With state title aspirations, Southfield Christian has opened the season making a statement. At press time, the Eagles were 10-1-1 overall, with the loss and tie coming back in August.

Make no mistake, though: The Eagles haven’t been beating up on inferior teams. Along with dominating league opponents, Southfield Christian has played teams in higher divisions. They’ve beaten Waterford Mott, Southfield A&T and Troy High. The Colts won a Division 1 district title last season.

All their success thus far has led to statewide recognition. In the Michigan Interscholastic Volleyball Coaches Association’s Sept. 23 poll, the Eagles were listed as the top team in D-4.

“It puts a target on our back, so it motivates us to work even harder,” Van Dyke said of the ranking.

The state playoffs are about a month away, beginning Nov. 4. The Eagles are hosting their district. It’s the first step in the journey toward making it back to the Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek to compete for a state title.

“That’s what this group’s worked for,” coach Mike Van Dyke said. “Being seniors, this is their last shot, so that’s their goal.”

The Eagles will hit the court again at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 3 at home against Charyl Stockwell Academy.

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