PONTIAC >> Not much has been able to slow down defending state champion Pontiac Notre Dame Prep this season. The Fighting Irish played at peak performance again Tuesday, making quick work of Marysville to record a three-game sweep, 25-10, 25-13, 25-17, in a Division 2 regional semifinal Tuesday.
Notre Dame Prep received contributions from up and down its roster, which helped mitigate Marysville’s concerted effort to limit the damage of Notre Dame Prep’s top hitters, Natalie Risi and Maddy Chinn.
“They seemed to commit block on our two Miss Volleyball (candidates), Natalie and Maddy, so we went to the other people and they had good games,” Fighting Irish coach Betty Wroubel said. “Maria Famularo played probably her best game of the season and our middles started to get a little bit more involved, which was what we’ve done the second half of the season.”
The three seniors, Chinn, Risi and Famularo, recorded 13, 11 and 10 kills, respectively, spacing across the net to make matters difficult for an overmatched Marysville squad.
“I thought we served very well. That was the strength of our game and we took them out of system,” Wroubel said. “Marysville can be a very dangerous team, but our goal today was to take them out of system and I thought we did that very well.”
The Fighting Irish took a 6-1 lead in the first set with Risi’s serves igniting a fast start en route to an easy 25-10 win.
In the second set, Notre Dame Prep notched the last four points in a row, punctuated by junior Emily Mohr’s decisive kill to take a commanding two games to none lead.
Marysville was improved in the third game, but it wasn’t enough to extend the match any further.
“Momentum is the unsung hero in a lot of games,” Wroubel said. “We were able to stop a lot of (Marysville’s) runs. They weren’t able to get a lot of it going. That’s kudos to our kids for playing hard. When they blocked, we did get the ball up. It was probably our best coverage of the season today.”
Freshman Alyssa Borellis led the Fighting Irish with 25 assists, while Famularo contributed 17 assists and 12 digs.
Showing off its depth, Notre Dame Prep concluded the match with five freshman on the floor – three of whom regularly play prominent roles on the team.
“They practice so hard day in and day out, they play against our starting lineup,” Wroubel said of her young players’ contributions. “We want to get them in the game for a point or two so they can be rewarded for all of their hard work helping our team perform as it does.”
Up next, Notre Dame Prep will host North Branch on Thursday at 6 p.m. in a Division 2 regional final.