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November 14, 2012

South and Liggett volleyball seasons end in regional playoffs

By Mark Vest
C & G Sports Writer

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Grosse Pointe South’s Ruth Hayden serves against Macomb Dakota during a regional final match Nov. 8. South lost the match, but not before capturing the program’s first district title in more than a decade.

Grosse Pointe South volleyball’s impressive postseason run came to an end Nov. 8 with a 3-0 loss to Macomb Dakota in a Class A regional final at St. Clair Shores Lake Shore.

Although the Blue Devils’ season may have wrapped up sooner than they would have preferred, it didn’t end before they made some history along the way.

Prior to its loss to Dakota, South won four postseason matches, picking up a district title and an opening-round regional victory over Sterling Heights.

South finished the season with an overall record of 35-13-2.

Coach Ryan Welser hopes his squad will look back with appreciation on all it accomplished during the season.

“We set a school records for wins this year,” he said. “We won the first district championship in 16 years. We made the first divisional final championship in nearly 20 years.  A lot of things set the tone. It’s hard to get to regional finals (the) first time and expect to move on. We’ve never done it. Maybe in a year or two it’s going to be our turn. It’s definitely something to build on. I’m definitely proud of the girls.”

Welser hopes the Blue Devils can look back on their 2012 season as one in which helped propel them to even bigger and better things.

“This is going to be a team in five years we’ll look back and say, ‘How did we get over that hump,’” he said. “We’re going to look back at this group of girls and say this group got us over the edge — past Grosse Pointe North (in a 3-2 district semifinal victory) into regional finals.”

Although seniors Neala Berkowski, Emily Satterfield, Claire DeBoer and Maya Grever won’t be returning next season, Welser believes South has a strong nucleus of players intact to make what he hopes will be another strong run.

“We’ve got five sophomores on the team,” he said. “We’ve got five returning starters. We’ve got our core of serve-receivers returning, (and) our setters returning. So, we’re returning a lot. Girls on the bench we can interchange. We’re very loaded, top to bottom.”

In other local regional tournament news:
Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett’s season has also come to a close after being defeated by Auburn Hills Oakland Christian 3-1 in a Class C regional semifinal match Nov. 6 at Memphis High School. The Knights won their second consecutive district championship prior to their loss to Oakland Christian.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mark Vest at mvest@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1112. Twitter Follow Mark on Twitter.