Bridgman defeated Brandywine several times this season on its way to the Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Conference Red Division volleyball title.
The Bees may need to do it one more time to win the Division 3 district at Lawton. District volleyball tournaments begin this week across the state.
Bridgman has had a strong season, going 35-10-2 and receiving honorable mention in the Division 3 state poll
“I feel really good about our team right now,” Bridgman coach Jim Ragosta said.
Many of the Bees’ biggest wins came against Brandywine, their top competitor in the BCS Red. Bridgman won both a regular-season meet and the finale of the division tournament over the Bobcats.
Brandywine is the two-time defending district champion, and Bridgman knows beating them again won’t be easy.
“It does get tougher, I think for both of us,” Ragosta said. “We have a certain way we approach playing them, and it’s worked for us. They’re all close games.”
Bridgman opens against Decatur. The Raiders defeated the Bees earlier this season at the Centreville Invitational, but Bridgman was playing without standout Haley Goff, who was injured during the tournament. Goff has since returned to health.
The winner of that game advances to play Cassopolis. On the other side of the bracket, Brandywine has a bye and will play the Lawton-Marcellus winner.
Division 3 at Watervliet
Host Watervliet opens against Bangor, with the winner advancing to play Gobles. Hartford takes on Bloomingdale on the other side of the bracket. The district champion will advance to face the winner of the Lawton district in the regional at Schoolcraft.
Division 4 at River Valley
New Buffalo is the district favorite after winning the BCS White Division title. Michigan Lutheran was the Bison’s top challenge in the division, and should be again in the district.
“We’ve had close calls, but they’ve beaten us so far,” Titans coach Bruce Molineaux said. “Hopefully we’ll meet them in the district final, and we’re looking to try to beat them again.”
Lutheran opens against Eau Claire, with the winner to face Countryside. New Buffalo will have to beat Lake Michigan Catholic and River Valley to reach the final.
“We did get a favorable draw, there’s no question about it,” Molineaux said.
Division 4 at Mendon
Lawrence has a bye and will face the winner of the Covert-Howardsville Christian opener.
Mendon, ranked No. 2 in Division 4, is the favorite. The Hornets open against Climax-Scotts, with the winner moving on to play Kalamazoo Heritage Christian.
Division 2 at South Haven
District host South Haven opens against Wolverine Conference rival Allegan.
Benton Harbor has a bye and will await the winner of a first-round matchup between Coloma and Paw Paw.
Division 2 at Buchanan
Niles opens against Dowagiac. The Chieftains defeated the Vikings on their way to winning the St. Joseph Invitational recently, but Niles played without middle hitter Marika Ruppart.
The winner will have a tough test against Edwardsburg, an honorable mention selection in Division 2. The Eddies have multiple wins over both Niles and Dowagiac this season.
Berrien Springs and Buchanan will face off on the other side of the bracket.
Division 1 at Mattawan
Lakeshore drew a bye, but will likely have to face Mattawan in the semifinals. The Wildcats, ranked No. 3 in Divison 1, are the clear district favorite.
They open against Portage Central.
St. Joseph opens against Portage Northern, and would face Kalamzoo Central with a victory.
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