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Sterling Heights

November 14, 2012

Sterling Heights High volleyball falls in regional semi after winning third straight district title

By Jason Carmel Davis
C & G Sports Writer

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The Sterling Heights High volleyball team won its third straight district title before falling to Grosse Pointe South Nov. 6 in a Class A regional semifinal. Pictured is Stallions junior Jessie Kluz.

Sterling Heights High juniors Julianna Trombley and Miranda Smith said they will come back even hungrier next season after the Stallions fell 3-0 (25-18, 25-20 and 25-21) to Grosse Pointe South in a Michigan High School Athletic Association Class A regional final played Nov. 6 at St. Clair Shores Lake Shore High.

This is the third straight year Trombley, Smith and the rest of the Stallions have seen their season end in the regional round. Sterling Heights lost to Livonia Stevenson in a Class A regional final in 2011 and to Fraser in a Class A regional final in 2010.

“The only thing this does is make us want to work harder,” said Smith, who plays setter for Sterling Heights. “We’ll be seniors next year, so we want to go further.”

The Stallions finish the season 25-14-4. That includes an 8-2 record, a second-place finish in the Macomb Area Conference Blue Division, and the school’s third straight district championship.

“But we want to get to (the state finals) next year,” said Trombley, an outside hitter who was selected to the 2012 All-MAC Blue Division team. “We don’t want to have this bad taste in our mouth again.”

That bad taste came as a result of the Stallions holding the lead in each of the three games the team played in the semifinal. Sterling Heights led early in each frame, only to see South rally to win each game and sweep the match.

Stallions assistant coach Kevin Bullis, filling in for Sterling Heights head coach Eric Wachterhauser, said his team played well enough to win the match.

“We had a lead in each of those games, but mental errors cost us,” Bullis said. “We played well enough to win tonight, but we couldn’t overcome some mistakes. Hats off to (Grosse Pointe South), though.

“This is a learning experience for us. We lost in regionals last year, making it two years in a row. The girls won’t want that to happen again.”

In advancing to a Class A regional semifinal, the Stallions knocked off Warren Woods Tower, Warren Regina and Warren Mott in succession to win a district championship. Sterling Heights bested Mott 3-0 Nov. 2 to capture a second consecutive district title.

Bullis believes the Stallions will be just as strong in 2013. Sterling Heights should return 10 of 13 players, including sophomore outside hitter Maddie Czopek, a 2012 All-MAC selection; junior libero Jessie Kluz, who Bullis believes will be a standout; and Trombley.

Bullis acknowledged that it would be difficult to replace the team’s three seniors, outside hitter Heather Caruso, right side hitter Gretchen Grade and All-MAC middle hitter Allison Erickson.

“Those three (seniors) are special, and they’ve done a lot for the program,” Bullis said, “but I think, with who we should have beck next year, we should be solid. We’re a program that’s going to be good for a while, I think.”

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Jason Carmel Davis at jdavis@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1107. Twitter Follow Jason on Twitter.