West Bloomfield High volleyball coach reflects on title season

By: Christian Davis | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published November 19, 2015

 West Bloomfield’s Audrey Kohl sends a shot over the net in a match earlier this season.

West Bloomfield’s Audrey Kohl sends a shot over the net in a match earlier this season.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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WEST BLOOMFIELD — Weeks removed from the season finale, West Bloomfield High volleyball coach Dana Gray still beams about her team. 

The Lakers finished the year 31-10-1 overall and with a title it hadn’t claimed in two decades, winning the Oakland Activities Association White Division. 

The team’s last championship came in 1995.

“That was one of the biggest goals. We thought it was doable, but as we got further along, it became more reachable, more attainable,” Gray said. “Beating (Farmington Hills) Harrison, that’s what we had to do.” 

Harrison was the defending division champ, and the Lakers and Hawks entered their final match of the division season Oct. 13 both undefeated. 

“It was awesome. We were mentally ready, emotionally ready. We had a great week of practice,” Gray said. “We knew we had to put forth our best effort without unforced errors. They were ready.”

The Lakers lost the first game, but then strung off three victories in a row to take the title, finishing 7-0 in the White on Harrison’s home floor.

As fate would have it, the Lakers and Hawks met again, this time in a Class A district semifinal Nov. 4. 

It was the exact opposite of their first meeting, according to Gray. West Bloomfield won the first game, and then lost the next three. 

“We knew they were going to do everything to beat us. … Harrison came back tough, and they deserved it. It wasn’t that we played badly,” Gray said. “If I had to choose between beating Harrison in the district or in the league, I’m happy the way it came out.” 

The Lakers say goodbye to seniors Avra DeYoung, Lindsey DuFresne, Nikki Ostrovsky, Jordan Ruge, Shannon Heald and Gabi Allread.

“They’re going to be huge shoes to fill. … They all had different roles on the team. Oftentimes the role was huge not on the court, but on the sideline,” the coach said. 

Gray added that it was the players’ unselfishness that really stood out and led the team to greater heights. 

“They wanted this season for each other more than themselves, right down to game by game,” Gray said. “They wanted their teammates to do better than themselves. That kind of thing, you can’t teach.”

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