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Utica Ford II volleyball earns top individual honors in MAC White

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published December 10, 2019

 Utica Ford II senior Antonia Nunnery chases the ball down during a Nov. 6 playoff match. Nunnery has been named MVP of the Macomb Area Conference Blue Division.

Utica Ford II senior Antonia Nunnery chases the ball down during a Nov. 6 playoff match. Nunnery has been named MVP of the Macomb Area Conference Blue Division.

Photo by Sean Work

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STERLING HEIGHTS — This past fall, the Utica Ford II volleyball team won its first division championship since 2016, and for its efforts, the program has seen some of its personnel earn plaques.

Second-year Falcons coach Randy Schantz earned Macomb Area Conference Blue Division Coach of the Year, and senior Antonia Nunnery’s play earned her the league MVP award.

Ford finished 9-1 in the division, taking the league title by four matches over second-place Port Huron High and Warren Woods Tower, which both finished 5-5.

The division crown comes a season after Ford finished third in the league in 2018 and 2017.

“Last year, I took over a team that only had a few starters who returned,” Schantz said. “I knew (this season) was going to be a lot of work, but the team was young and I knew this year could be special. To win (MAC Blue) Coach of the Year validates all of the work I put in and my faith in this team.”

This year’s team was aided by its depth. Schantz said any player could record double-digit kills on a given night, but it was also the defense that made a difference.

“Our defense was something the team took pride in, and it carried us during offensive droughts,” the coach said.

Schantz added that Nunnery had something to prove this season. The senior started every match for Ford and led the team in kills (218) and hitting percentage (.348).

Nunnery put in some “electric performances” this season, Schantz said.

“Not only was (Nunnery) an explosive player, but she pumped up her teammates, gave them confidence and made them better,” Schantz said. “She had several dominant games where she had elite-level hitting stats. She brought a passion to every practice and game. It was unanimous among the MAC Blue coaches that Antonia was the MVP.”

Nunnery’s award-winning play came in her final season with the program. Moving forward, Schantz hopes to develop the team’s younger players into strong contributors, along with increasing their participation in school and club sports.

“I want them to buy into Utica Ford volleyball and believe that they can continue the success this year’s team had,” Schantz said. “We may be graduating seven players, but the six returning are more than ready to take over, with the addition of some strong JV players.

“Each year, the interest in the program by both players and parents has increased. They see a good thing beginning, and they want it to continue.”

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