Lutheran North volleyball gets past Regina, wins first Catholic League tournament title

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Online Only | Published October 29, 2019

 Macomb Lutheran North volleyball coach Jessie Lancaster, right, poses with her players after the team's 3-1 Oct. 29 win over Warren Regina in the Catholic High School League Cardinal Division tournament title game.

Macomb Lutheran North volleyball coach Jessie Lancaster, right, poses with her players after the team's 3-1 Oct. 29 win over Warren Regina in the Catholic High School League Cardinal Division tournament title game.

Photo by Jason Carmel Davis

As a Lutheran school, Macomb Lutheran North has not always been able to compete in Catholic High School League tournaments.

The Mustangs this year, though, proved they belong, downing Warren Regina 3-1 to claim the CHSL Cardinal Division tournament championship. It’s the first CHSL tourney title for Lutheran North.

“I’m just so proud of the girls,” said Lutheran North coach Jessie Lancaster, in her second year leading the program. “I’ve got to give credit to the girls. They fought and battled hard for this. This is something we all really wanted.”

The win comes days after the Mustangs clinched their first CHSL AA Division championship since 2015.

The match was a back-and-forth affair.

Lutheran North (26-5-1) won the first game 25-23. It featured nine ties and seven lead changes. Neither team led by more than six points.

Regina bounced back to take game two 25-17. The Saddlelites (25-14) took an early 4-3 lead on their way to taking the game.

The Mustangs led wire to wire in taking game three 25-16.

In the fourth game, Lutheran North  jumped out to a 12-4 edge before Regina closed the gap to 13-9. The Mustangs then went on a 9-4 run to take their biggest lead of the game at 22-13. The Saddlelites rebounded before Lutheran North closed the door 25-18.

“I just told the girls to play their game,” Lancaster said. “We didn’t have a lot of big hits tonight, but we were able to find our spots with the ball. Kennedy Dulmage (2020 Oakland University commit) didn’t have a lot of big hits, but she knew where to put the ball. I thought that was big for our team.”

Regina coach Liz Stibich, in her second year guiding the program, said she’s proud of the effort her team showed in the final.

“Obviously, they’re disappointed. This isn’t the result they wanted,” Stibich said. “They played really hard tonight. You could see the things we’d been working on all season long. We’ve been working on executing our offense and defense better, and it showed tonight.

“Lutheran North just made more plays than we did. They wanted the match as much as we did. They were just able to close it out.”

Lancaster, who began her coaching career in 1997, said taking a new approach has helped her team this season.

“I’ve learned so much just by listening. You start to understand that the girls on the court see things differently than you do on the sideline," she said. "They’ve been able to teach me a lot this season. They’re a great group.”