WHITMORE LAKE ATHLETICS
Girls Middle School Volleyball
Game Summaries & Headlines.
25 – 18, 25 – 16, 17 – 16
Last night, Whitmore Lake’s White team faced Greenhills for the third time this season. After winning the first two at home, they were looking to do the same on the road. Hailey Bowers started the Trojans off on the right foot serving the first six points. Greenhills tried to match that on their first serve, but could only score four before Whitmore Lake got a side out. From there, it became a serving battle, and the teams stayed close or tied until Claire Birely got to the serving line with Whitmore Lake ahead by one at 18 – 17. Birely served up six in a row taking the Trojans to game point. A side out later, Whitmore Lake had the first set wrapped up 25 – 18. In the second set, Bowers duplicated her start from the first set, and the Trojans weren’t slowing down this time. Four points by Grace Hyland, two more by Birely and another by Sarah Brown put Whitmore Lake up 18 – 10. It wasn’t long before the Trojans had set two under their belt at 25 – 16. In the third set, Whitmore Lake again jumped out to a big lead at 11 – 4, but the Gryphons found a little life and scored seven in a row to tie the set at 11. Both teams began to have problems serving and could only score on side outs. Whitmore Lake made it to 15 first, but the set wasn’t over because Greenhills had 14. The side outs continued and the set capped at 17, Whitmore Lake hit that magic number first, winning the third set 17 – 16, taking all three sets in their final match of the season. The White team continues to get better and doing better at serve receive including an awesome pass by Kylie Burianek off a rocket launched by the Gryphons. They are also having longer volleys and moving better on the court. Many of the girls are trying their overhand serves too. The win gives the White team an overall winning record for the season at 7 – 5 (4 – 5 MIAC).
20 – 25, 25 – 15, 12 – 15
At Greenhills last night, the Red team found themselves in a rare situation, a competitive match. After one full rotation, Whitmore Lake was up by one at 12 – 11, but that was short lived. Greenhills scored the next six points. When Ally St. Charles got to the serving line, she mounted her horse named Comeback, and served the Trojan back into the lead at 20 – 19. Unfortunately, that was the end of the scoring for Whitmore Lake and Greenhills finished the set on their next possession at 25 – 20. Now the Trojans had to win the second set to give themselves a chance. After each team had a turn to serve, it wasn’t looking good for Whitmore Lake, down 2 – 8. Luckily Laenie Short wasn’t fazed by the moment and tied the set up. Then came the big serving run by Isla Sterzik, hitting eight aces off nine serves for a 20 – 14 lead. St. Charles finished the set with another four aces for a 25 – 15 win. Whitmore Lake put themselves in position to win the match and momentum was on their side. A side out and two more points by Brooklyn Blumenstiel gave Whitmore Lake the first three points of the set. Greenhills went on a scoring run to take the lead at 7 – 3. After St. Charles finished serving the set was tied at seven and Abby Muchow gave the Trojans their first lead since the beginning of the set with her four serving points to be on top 12 – 11. Greenhills next server turned out to be Whitmore Lake’s kryptonite and the Trojans were unable to stop her as she served out the set for a final score of 15 – 12 and a match win. Despite the season ending loss, the Red team had an outstanding season finishing with a 9 – 3 (8 – 2 MIAC) record.
25 – 20, 25 – 20, 15 – 8
In their final match of the season and middle school career for many of the girls, Whitmore Lake traveled to Greenhills for round three against the Gryphons, this time on their court. After winning the first two matches against Greenhills, Whitmore Lake was going for the season sweep. Unlike the last few matches, Whitmore Lake got off to a slow start and the Trojans were behind at first, until Grace the Ace Bennardi got the serve and took Whitmore Lake to the lead at 8 – 6. Then Phoenni Lou Wilson added to the lead with her three aces off four five serves putting Whitmore Lake up 13 – 7. The Trojans were starting to cruise as usual. With the score at 22 – 14, Whitmore Lake was headed for another easy win, but that’s when the Trojans started helping the Gryphons with a lack of communication and many unforced errors. Whitmore Lake couldn’t decide who was going to pass the ball, thus running into each other or when they did get a good pass and set, thought the goal was to hit the ball into the net or outside the boundary lines. Suddenly Greenhills was only down by two at 22 – 20 before Whitmore Lake got a side out. Luckily Wilson was still on fire from the serving line and aced the final two points for a 25 – 20 first set win. In the second set, Whitmore Lake got out of the trash can fast with a serving show by Mila Proimos putting nine points on the scoreboard including seven aces off her topspin serve. Channing Cook added three more points and the big red volleyball machine was rolling with a 13 – 5 lead. Whitmore Lake was again cruising to an easy win with the score at 20 – 13, but then came a second collapse. It was déjà vu all over again. It looked like someone replaced the Trojans with the Bad News Bears; missed passes, players tripping over each, missed serves, if it was bad, the Trojans did it. Greenhills started to make their move as they began their second full rotation, making it 16 – 20. Proimos’ serve opened the gap back up a little at 22 – 16, but the Gryphons weren’t going to make it easy on the Trojans and scored the next four points to make it 20 – 22, still with the serve. Whitmore Lake put on the clamps and stole the ball back with a side out. Two points away from a victory, it was Cook to the rescue who served a bullet ace to make it game point for the Trojans. Another serve by Cook put the match on ice for a Trojan victory with an identical 25 – 20 score as the first set. With the match in hand, Whitmore Lake relaxed a little and started playing Trojan volleyball in the third set. Whitmore Lake was quickly up 8 – 3 and stayed in rhythm for the entire set and again Cook served out the set on her second turn from the serving line, this time for an easy 15 – 8 victory to sweep the Gryphons on the night and for the season. Despite not playing their best in the first two sets, the girls again proved their mental toughness, never needing a time out to collect themselves and doing what it took when it really counted. Wilson had her best showing while playing in the front row with a dump over the net for a kill at a crucial point in the second set and also had several powerful hits for kills. Bennardi had several strategically placed tips for kills mixed in with her hard hitting and blocking at the net. Slim Sheedy again showed her hitting prowess during the third set to go with her solid passing and patented diving for saves throughout the match. Oscar Valentine was also all over the floor, while making several powerful hits during the game. Cook showed off her setting skills in the third set and got several good hits earlier in the match, while Maria Hentnik made a couple of huge blocks with her presence at the net. Josie Marcum came off the bench to keep the Trojans on track during an emergency hair tie malfunction and provided some solid serving when Whitmore Lake was struggling, while adding some calmness to the back row with her precise passing. Whitmore Lake’s Black team had a remarkable season, while also being one of the best middle school volleyball teams in over a decade. It all started with a vision from the coach at the beginning of the season and then the girls fulfilling that vision with their hard work, effort, willingness to make changes and work together as a team. This sacrifice throughout the season earned the girls an impressive final record of 9 – 2 (8 – 1 MIAC). The team will next be together at their season ending banquet to honor them for their dedication to the sport and each other next Wednesday, then one final outing together on Friday when they go to see Michigan take on Penn State at Crisler Center for a Big 10 volleyball match.