Battle Creek — Maddy Chinn showed why she received the Miss Volleyball award this week, putting on a dominating performance in helping Pontiac Notre Dame Prep take a step closer to repeating as state champions with a sweep of Corunna Thursday night in a Division 2 semifinal at Kellogg Arena.
Chinn, a 6-foot-3 outside hitter, finished with 17 kills, 13 digs and a .419 hitting percentage in an impressive 25-9, 25-14, 25-17 sweep which lasted just over an hour.
Pontiac Notre Dame Prep — ranked No. 2 with a 64-5 record — will carry its 54-match winning streak into Saturday’s 4 p.m. Division 2 title match against top-ranked Grand Rapids Christian (45-5).
Chinn set the tempo in the opening game when she had a kill for an 8-3 lead, then served for five points, including a pair of aces, to open a 14-4 cushion.
“The award means a lot so it’s important to keep that honor while you’re playing,” Chinn said. “You just have to stay disciplined and rely on the hard work in practice, trusting that it will come out in a game.”
It was obvious that Notre Dame Prep had been on the Kellogg Arena court before and that the atmosphere was new to Corunna (50-7-5) which had service errors on its first two serves of the match.
“I was nervous about our young kids, our inexperience and how they would handle this stage,” said Pontiac Notre Dame Prep coach Betty Wroubel who guided her team to championships in 2007, 2013 and last season. “I thought they did a tremendous job for the first time. Kudos to the seniors (Chinn, Natalie Risi, Maria Famularo) for helping through it, talking them through it, what to expect, how to handle it, take those deep breaths. Maria (Famularo), the jokester over here, lightening it up a little for them so they could be successful.”
Senior setter/outside hitter Famularo had 22 assists and nine digs; Miss Volleyball finalist Risi, 10 digs and freshman setter Aly Borellis, 13 assists, 11 digs and seven kills.
“I just like to keep the younger girls loose because we have like five freshmen on our team so I like to keep them positive and smiling,” Famularo said. “I feel like that’s kind of one of my roles, being a senior, is keeping the kids positive and make sure they are having fun and doing what they need to be doing and staying confident.”
Notre Dame Prep will enter the title match as an underdog. Grand Rapids Christian swept Lake Odessa Lakewood, which lost to Notre Dame Prep in last year’s title match, 25-14, 25-20, 25-14 on the strength of 15 kills by Addie VanderWeide and 35 assists from Jordy Gates.
“I think we’ve been an underdog all year,” said Wroubel, who lost the bulk of her team from a year ago, but still has the big three in Chinn (Purdue), Risi (Ball State) and Famularo. “Grand Rapids Christian is an excellent team. The rankings are fun to look at and it drives interest in volleyball so it makes it kind of exciting. We have to take care of things on our side of the net and do the best that we can.
“They are a really, really strong team. Making divisions this year instead of the classes (Notre Dame Prep was Class B champion last year) made a big difference. They’ve been a great team for a while now, but this (west) side of the state in Class A has been strong and they’ve gotten knocked out. They’ve been one of the smallest Class A (schools) for a while. I’m thinking that this is what they feel is their big shot.”
Grand Rapids Christian def. Lake Odessa Lakewood, 25-14, 25-20, 25-14
Pontiac Notre Dame Prep def. Corunna, 25-9, 25-14, 25-17
Final: Saturday, 4 p.m.
Unionville-Sebewaing def. Traverse City St. Francis, 25-15, 26-24, 19-25, 25-21
Bronson def. Monroe St. Mary CC, 23-25, 25-21, 20-25, 25-18, 15-4
Final: Saturday, noon
Mendon vs. Southfield Christian, noon
Leland vs. Carney-Nadeau, 2 p.m.
Final: Saturday, 10 a.m.
Lake Orion vs. Farmington Hills Mercy, 4:30 p.m.
Northville vs. Rockford, 6:30 p.m.
Final: Saturday, 2 p.m.