Berkley High’s Grace Dickey prepares to serve the ball in regionals Nov. 10. The Bears finished the year with a 16-13 overall record.

Berkley High’s Grace Dickey prepares to serve the ball in regionals Nov. 10. The Bears finished the year with a 16-13 overall record.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Berkley High volleyball concludes season in regionals

By: Zachary Manning | Woodward Talk | Published December 2, 2020

 Berkeley High’s Sawyer Jones plays the ball during regional action Nov. 10. The Bears won the third district title in program history.

Berkeley High’s Sawyer Jones plays the ball during regional action Nov. 10. The Bears won the third district title in program history.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Advertisement

BERKLEY — It’s been a while since the Berkley High volleyball program has found much success on the court.

With that in mind, first-year coach Eric Wachterhauser came in with the mindset of changing the culture, creating a brand of winning and instilling confidence in the group.

With improved fundamentals, a positive attitude and a new brand of Berkley volleyball, the Bears were able to post a 16-13 overall record. According to Wachterhauser, it’s the first winning record in more than 10 years.

Their strong play was reflected in the league and in the postseason. The Bears won the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division, while also defeating Detroit Renaissance in a Division 1 district final.

It was the program’s third district title and first since 2012. However, the road would end in regionals, as the Bears fell to Farmington Hills Mercy Nov. 10.

Despite the loss, Wachterhauser saw a lot of positives in the season and expects to continue trending in the right direction.

“Our biggest impactful move was trying to impart a change in culture,” Wachterhauser said. “We want a new brand of Berkley volleyball, and we want these girls to be the first ones to establish exactly what that’s going to mean.”

With a strong season, multiple Bears were able to earn awards. Ava Beard, Ariel Gibson, Sawyer Jones and Sohpia Dawkins received All-OAA honors, while Ella Schneider was named honorable mention.

Grace Dickey earned the league’s sportsmanship award and Wachterhauser was honored as the Coach of the Year in the division.

Along with the individual honors, the group earned state all-academic honors. Wachterhauser said it’s a reflection of the hard work they put in on the court and in the classroom.

As they prepare for next season, the Bears will do so in a tougher league. Berkley will now be playing the OAA White, which provides another unique challenge for a growing group.

“The challenges are just going to keep coming next year in having to take out these other programs that have been there, done that for awhile,” Wachterhauser said. “I think our core is excited about those possibilities.”

A positive for the Bears is that most of the group will be returning. With just one senior, most of the roster should remain the same.

Wachterhauser is excited for what the future may hold and believes the program can reach new heights.

“We’re going to miss Grace, our lone senior, a lot. The leadership that she brought more than anything else, and the girls absolutely adore her,” Wachterhauser said. “The six sophomores on varsity this first year, a handful of juniors, we’re going to hopefully be able to repeat this idea for at least the next year or two without much difficulty and only build upon that culture.”

Advertisement