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November 26, 2013

Pontiac Notre Dame Prep volleyball battles in postseason

By Christian Davis
C & G Sports Writer

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The Pontiac Notre Dame Prep volleyball team celebrates after beating North Branch High in five games Nov. 21 in a Class B quarterfinal. The Fighting Irish fought off six match points in the process.

PONTIAC — For veteran Pontiac Notre Dame Prep volleyball coach Betty Wroubel, the Class B quarterfinal match against North Branch High Nov. 19 at home was unlike any other that she had experienced in the postseason.

The match was a balanced battle, with Prep winning the first two games 25-15, 25-21 and then North Branch digging deep to win the next two 25-14, 25-23.

The fifth game, which Wroubel said “felt like it started yesterday,” was as close as it could get: a Fighting Irish victory of 24-22.

“That was an epic match. It was great. It’s too bad that either team had to lose,” Wroubel said after the win. “Somehow, the girls just gutted it out. I think with the team chemistry, our kids love each other and play for each other. That was the difference for us.”

Prep went on to play Wayland Union in a semifinal after press time in Battle Creek. See next week’s edition and our website at www.candgnews.com for a complete wrap of the state semis and finals.

The run to Battle Creek nearly didn’t happened, as Prep faced six match points against the Broncos.

“That fifth set was anyone’s game. Our kids never gave up. We just couldn’t get that one point that we needed,” North Branch coach James Fish said.

Wroubel’s advice for her squad heading into the fifth game, after North Branch seized momentum, was simple.

“I didn’t have to say anything except, ‘Let’s get back to Irish volleyball. Take a deep breath; you’re playing scared, and if we’re going to go out, let’s go out swinging. … Let’s swing — let’s put on a good show, if nothing else,’” Wroubel recalled.

Prep’s Katherine Carlson said the Irish kept faith that it was their match to win.

“It was just a dream, really. It was the best feeling. I trust my team, I trust myself, and it was just going out there and believing we could do it,” she said. “We just kept calm. We knew we could win.”

In other volleyball action:
Bloomfield Hills Marian beat Romeo High in three games to earn a spot in a Class A semifinal. The Mustangs took on Temperance Bedford after press time.

In Class C, Auburn Hills Oakland Christian defeated Ottawa Lake Whiteford in five games. In the semifinal, the Lancers played Beal City High after press time.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Christian Davis at cdavis@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1062. Twitter Follow Christian on Twitter.