Last night’s match between the Marysville and Warren Lincoln volleyball teams was anything but ordinary.
In their last home game of the season, the Vikings celebrated their six seniors – Emma Curtis, Allysse Berger, Kara Miller, Meghan Winston, Brooklynn Evans, and Grace Kryscynski – before the competition began.
As the girls walked into the gym, their younger teammates had speeches prepared for each of them, talking about their favorite memories, why they look up to them, and the little things they’ll miss about their leaders.
“Hearing their speeches, it shows that this is a family thing,” Berger said. “We’re all like a family here and it brings us together emotionally. It’s really sad to let it go.”
“I think it’s really cool and meaningful and it makes us happy,” Miller added. “It’s really emotional and I loved it.”
But all sadness left as soon as the six seniors took the court. They said that the emotional start to the evening didn’t distract them from the task at hand, and it showed as they swept their opponent in three straight sets: 25-2, 25-10, 25-6.
“I think it motivates us even more because it was our last home match,” Curtis said. “It made me want to play even better for my teammates.”
“I think for me, volleyball is something that’s been a part of my life for a really long time, since I was a little girl,” Kryscynski said. “Playing varsity was one of my biggest dreams and to be able to play in a game like this with people that I’ve grown up with and played with my whole life was just super meaningful.”
As a group that’s played together for about a decade, it’s no wonder senior night could bring about so many memories and emotions, especially for head coach Kellie Kryscynski who’s in her second year at the helm of the legendary program.
“I’ve been coaching most of them since they were in third grade…It’s been quite the journey to end as their varsity coach, it’s something really special that doesn’t happen very often,” she said. “They’ve contributed tremendously to this program. They’re probably some of the sweetest, smartest girls I’ve ever had the pleasure of coaching and I know that as they leave us, they’ll go on to do some pretty amazing things.”
Not only has their talent and ability on the court proven key this season, but also their leadership and attitude. As a team that asked for a challenge at the end of last season, the Vikings have gotten exactly what they asked for – and more.
They finished league play within the MAC-Red 4-6, a jump up from last year when they were the co-champions of the MAC-White. They’ve played powerhouse programs like Dakota which may have hurt their record, but the experience will no doubt prepare them for next week’s district tournament.
“I’m just pumped. Everyone knows the tradition of Marysville and I want to keep it going. I want to make my mark,” Winston said. “I feel like people maybe doubt us with what we’ve experienced, but I think with what we have experienced, it’s just so much more motivation.”
Between tough opponents and several injuries this fall, the Vikings have done a lot of growing and adjusting. Kellie Kryscynski said having the seniors on the team has been “huge” in keeping the group on mission with confidence.
“Many of them have played on the basketball and softball teams who’ve played in big games, so they how to stay mentally tough and mentally focused,” Kryscynski said, “so that’s been a huge advantage to have them to teach their younger teamates how to get through that.”
Marysville will play Marine City in the first round of the district tournament on Monday, Oct. 31, in Algonac, and the winner will play St. Clair in the semifinal on Nov. 2.
“I’m super motivated. I want to leave it all on the court and play to the best of my ability every game,” Berger said. “No messing around.”
For in-game updates and other news, follow Calli on Twitter @ newberry_calli
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