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November 13, 2013

Troy Athens volleyball wins district title; local teams battle in playoffs

By Christian Davis
C & G Sports Writer

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Troy Athens coach Christine Stanichuk celebrates with the Class A district trophy after her squad beat Auburn Hills Avondale Nov. 8 for the title.

TROY — Following Troy Athens volleyball’s opening-round victory against Waterford Mott Nov. 4 at home, Athens coach Christine Stanichuk took a picture of the banner hanging in the gym depicting the program’s championships.

The last district title listed was 2005.

In an effort to remind her current team that it had the potential to add to the list, Stanichuk photoshopped “2013” on her photo and printed out mini banners for each player on the team.

“When we came into practice the next day, I handed every player one, and I said, ‘Not that I’m jumping the gun, but I’m telling you, this can be us. I want everyone to keep this picture with you for the whole week and just think it, believe it and just want it. We can make it happen,’” the coach recalled.

The Red Hawks thought, believed and did it Nov. 8 at home, beating Auburn Hills Avondale 25-15, 24-26, 25-15, 25-15 for the Class A title.

“We’ve had (district titles) in softball, but in volleyball, we’ve always been underdogs,” senior Haley Zemmer said. “It feels fantastic to come out on top this year.”

Stanichuk credited her seniors for much of the success.

“These were the leaders that were going to do it. Their heart and soul goes into every game,” she said. “I knew if any year was our year, this was it.”

Athens went on to play Clarkston High in a regional semifinal after press time. The winner takes on Bloomfield Hills Marian or Birmingham Groves at 7 p.m. Nov. 14 at Lake Orion High.

In the same district, Troy High fell to Avondale in four games Nov. 6 in a semifinal. The Colts beat Waterford Mott in three Nov. 4 to open the playoffs.

In Class B, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep continued its dominating way, beating Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood, Beverly Hills Detroit Country Day and Clawson High all in three games on the way to the district title.

The championship is the Fighting Irish’s seventh straight and 16th in the school’s 20-year history.

Prep also won its 57th match of the season when it beat Cranbrook for the title Nov. 7, which broke a school record.

The Fighting Irish played Center Line in a regional semifinal after press time. The winner takes on Hazel Park High or Detroit University Prep at 7 p.m. Nov. 14 at Prep.

In Class C, Auburn Hills Oakland Christian also won a title, beating Mount Clemens High in three games in the final Nov. 8 at Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest.

The Lancers played Brown City High in a regional semifinal after press time. The winner takes on Royal Oak Shrine or Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett at 7 p.m. Nov. 14 at Madison Heights Bishop Foley.

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