The Pontiac Notre Prep volleyball team celebrates with a Division 2 regional trophy after its victory over North Branch High Nov. 8 at home. The Fighting Irish beat North Branch 25-20, 25-19 and 25-23.

The Pontiac Notre Prep volleyball team celebrates with a Division 2 regional trophy after its victory over North Branch High Nov. 8 at home. The Fighting Irish beat North Branch 25-20, 25-19 and 25-23.

Photo by Erin Sanchez


Notre Dame Prep volleyball marches on to state semifinals

By: Jacob Herbert | Rochester Post | Published November 13, 2018

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PONTIAC — It has been quite a run for the Pontiac Notre Dame Prep volleyball squad again this season.

The defending Division 2 champions have a regional title already in hand and are heading to the state semifinals at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 15 in Battle Creek.

At press time, Prep had yet to lose a game in the playoffs, which included wins over traditional state powers North Branch High and Marysville High.  

“Our team plays selflessly, which has helped us improve our team skills,” Prep coach Betty Wroubel said. The girls genuinely want each other to be successful. We have girls who have given up their normal position, and the position they will play in college, to help the team succeed. We are starting to jell and understand our system, which has helped us elevate our game.”

Leading the way for Prep is a trio of seniors. Maria Famularo helps lead the team in part by working with the younger players. Wroubel said Famularo helps the team stay loose in pressure situations and is always quick to crack a joke in an effort to keep spirits up.

“I’m not sure I have laughed as much during practices and matches,” Wroubel said. “She is very sensitive to the needs of the other girls.”

The other two leaders — Miss Volleyball candidates Maddy Chinn and Natalie Risi — do their part leading in different ways. According to Wroubel, Risi is known for having a calming effect on the team.

“In every big game of her career, she has stood out,” Wroubel said. “Nothing rattles her. The young ones look to her for advice on and off the court. She is kind of the mother hen of our freshmen. She stays after and works with the girls and helps them with the tricks of the trade.”

Chinn, on the other hand, is known for her ability to pump the team up on the court when needed. Wroubel said she has booming hits that electrify the team and the crowd. She also has the ability — like she has shown this postseason — to dominate at the net.

“Her volleyball IQ is excellent,” Wroubel said. “It’s like we have another coach on the floor. Her personality is such that she is just fun to be around, but don’t let that smile fool you. She, along with Famularo and Risi, are great competitors who want nothing more than to lead this team to one more set, match and day to play.”

As for key things to focus on for the rest of the playoffs, Wroubel her players need to stay focused on what they do well.

“We just need to be us, enjoy the ride and have no regrets,” she said.

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