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Rochester, Rochester Hills

September 26, 2012

Rochester High and Rochester Adams volleyball battle

By Christian Davis
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
Rochester Adams’s Jennifer Gerlach tips the ball over Rochester High’s Sophia Menzo’s outstretched arms Sept. 20 at Rochester. Adams won the match in four games.

ROCHESTER HILLS — In a lot of ways, Rochester High’s and Rochester Adams’ volleyball teams are mirror images of each other.

With only seven total seniors between them, both programs sport rosters that resemble a JV team more than varsity.

At press time, the teams had similar records, with Adams standing at 9-13-1 overall and Rochester at 11-13 overall.

Rochester has two sophomores and nine juniors on the squad; Adams claims two freshmen, a sophomore and seven juniors.

Both squads are young and improving, according to their respective coaches.

“Every match, they’re getting better and getting more confidence, too,” Adams coach Reay Zoellner said.

The youth movement was on display Sept. 20 at Rochester in an Oakland Activities Association Red showdown.

Rochester didn’t go away without a fight, but it was the Highlanders earning the 25-17, 26-24, 23-25 and 25-21 win.

“They really stepped up, and there was no letdown,” Zoellner said of his team. “We had good communication and energy, even when we lost the third game. Everyone pushed hard.”

Adams nearly made it a sweep, leading by as many as eight points in the third, but the Falcons clawed their way back for the eventual win.

“We knew Rochester was good. They got in our heads a little bit, but we pulled through,” Adams senior Jennifer Gerlach said.

Adams, again, took an early lead in the final game, having a five-point advantage before Rochester closed it to 21-19. But unforced errors and Madison Nelson’s block on a game point sealed the deal.

“We just have too many errors at the wrong time,” Duquette said.

Still, the coach liked the fight she saw in her team.

“They’re determined not to give up,” Duquette said. “They’re really a team that refuses to take a loss, and the girls aren’t scared to swing away.”

Marissa Ratzenberger led Adams with 34 digs. Gerlach added 16 kills in the match, and Jillian Dospil had 15 assists for the Highlanders.

For Rochester, Stephanie Sikorski had 19 assists; Caite Wiacek finished with nine kills; and Mikayla Baxter tallied 16 digs.

The Falcons and the Highlanders will meet again, this time with Rochester Hills Stoney Creek and Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest involved as the city championship at 5 p.m. Oct. 23 at Rochester.

“I think we’re ready to bring the city championship home,” Duquette said.

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