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GIRLS VOLLEYBALL: Top-ranked Notre Dame Prep tops No. 2 North Branch for regional title

| November 9, 2017 | Comments (0)

BY DAN STICKRADT

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dan.stickradt@northoaklandsports.com

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NORTH BRANCH  Not even the No. 2-ranked team in the state is even able to derail the Pontiac Notre Dame Prep express.

The top-ranked Fighting Irish cruised to a 3-0 sweep of second-ranked and defending state champion North Branch Thursday night for NDP’s third Class B regional title in seven years.

The 50th straight win for the nationally-ranked Notre Dame Prep side  (No. 11 by www.prepvolleyball.com) came in a 25-15, 25-11, 25-12 fashion that took just 1 hour, 6 minutes to complete.

North Branch defeated the Irish in the regional semifinals last season and also in the 2014 state semifinals. NDP last defeated North Branch in a postseason match came in a five-game thriller in the 2013 regional finals.

NDP jettisoned out to a 7-0 lead in Game 1 to set the tone and the Irish maintained at least a six-point advantage in the set.

North Branch was in the path of an F5 tornado and simply could not stop Notre dame Prep’s whirlwind of attackers.

“We had a good game plan, but we needed to win that first game. Instead we were down 8-1 before we knave ew it,” said North Branch coach James Fish. “They have like six attackers and we have one really good one. We had to give them something, so we gave up the right side. We just couldn’t stop them. They’re the best Class B team I’ve seen in years and I’ve been around for 20 years.”

The second set saw the teams in a 3-3 draw before the Fighting Irish go on a 7-3 run and gradually pull away.

North Branch built a 3-2 advantage in Game 3, but that ray of hope was short-lived. NDP responded with a 10-3 run for a 12-6 lead and never pulled up on the throttle.

“We’ve played great in some games this season. I know we had a big game against Clarkston in the Beast of the East Tournament,” said NDP coach Betty Wroubel. “But in this atmosphere, in this hostile gym — and I don’t mean that they’re bad people — they are just loud in their home gym. “(I thought we) really brought it today. This was our best performance.”

Juniors Maddy Chin, Natalie Risi and Morgan Verheyen led the Irish’s vaunted attack. Senior setter Lauren senior Burnick, senior Gabriella Shilling and sophomore Taylor Raiola also contributed big games for Notre Dame Prep (61-2-2), who will play in the state quarterfinals next Tuesday at Imlay City against the winner of the Corunna-Saginaw Swan Valley regional final.

Chinn slammed 16 kills, Verheyen added 14 kills, Risi had four aces, 15 service points and 10 kills, Burnick recorded 10 digs, Raiola chipped in six aces and Shilling added four blocks for NDP.

Junior Alison Bryce had nine kills, while junior Allyson Severance added eight kills for the Broncos (60-7-5).

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Category: Most Recently Updated Stories, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, Prep Wraps, Sport, Top Stories, Volleyball

About Dan Stickradt: DAN STICKRADT | SENIOR EDITOR dan.stickradt@northoaklandsports.com View author profile.

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