Stevenson volleyball outlasts Dakota, moves on to regional final

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Online Only | Published November 6, 2018

 Sterling Heights Stevenson senior Alexis Kopicki skies to slam the ball home in a 2018 regional round win. The Titans bested Macomb Dakota 3-2 in a Nov. 6 regional semifinal.

Sterling Heights Stevenson senior Alexis Kopicki skies to slam the ball home in a 2018 regional round win. The Titans bested Macomb Dakota 3-2 in a Nov. 6 regional semifinal.

Photo by Donna Agusti

 Macomb Dakota senior Katelynn Lodge looks to make a play during a 2018 district round win. The Cougars fell to Sterling Heights Stevenson in five sets Nov. 6 in a regional semifinal.

Macomb Dakota senior Katelynn Lodge looks to make a play during a 2018 district round win. The Cougars fell to Sterling Heights Stevenson in five sets Nov. 6 in a regional semifinal.

Photo by Donna Agusti

STERLING HEIGHTS — The Sterling Heights Stevenson has won four straight district titles and eight in the last 11 years, but a regional title has eluded the team.

The Titans, though, will have another chance to break through after downing Macomb Dakota 3-2 (25-20, 18-25, 16-25, 25-19, 15-13) Nov. 6 in a Division 1 regional semifinal.

Stevenson (44-9) advances to face Fraser High in a regional final set for 7 p.m. Nov. 8 at Utica Ford II.

"That was some of the craziest ball we've played all year," said Titans coach Eric Wachterhauser, in his first year leading the team. "Dakota gave us everything they had. We got down, but we were able to pull it out in the end. I'm exhausted. That was ridiculous."

The Titans, seeking their first regional championship since 1988, led for the majority of Game 1. The Cougars (12-6) took control over the next two games in building a 2-1 lead. Stevenson didn't lead again until taking a 6-5 edge in Game 4. Game 5 saw five ties and four lead changes. Titans seniors Alexis Kopicki, Abbey Herrmann and Chloe Clark le the way. Those three are the only players who have regional round experience.

"I'm proud of our players," Dakota coach Tracie Ferguson said. "I didn't think we came out with a lot of intensity, but they picked it up and got it to a point where it was sudden death. We were comfortable with them playing (Kopicki and Herrmann) in the back row. (Clark) put the game away for them."

Wachterhauser touted the play of Kopicki, Herrman and Clark. The Titans have seven players on their roster — six in the regular rotation. The trio of Kopicki, Herrmann and Clark, though, led the way.

"Some of the other players, you could see they hadn't been in a situation like this," Wachterhauser said. "We're fortunate to have players who can step up in these moments."