Victory gives Novi ticket to Battle Creek
West Bloomfield — With a 25-11, 25-15, 25-19 straight set victory over Grosse Pointe North in Tuesday night's Class A regional quarterfinals, Novi's volleyball team is heading back to Battle Creek.
Returning to Battle Creek has been the goal of Jen Cotrill's team, a season removed from its state final loss to Romeo, but you wouldn't know by hearing them speak.
"We haven't talked about Battle Creek all season," she said. "We've been trying to focus on not getting too far ahead of ourselves. Deep down, they know it's a part of what we wanted."
Ally Cummings and Miss Volleyball runner-up Victoria Iacobelli paced Novi (53-2) with seven kills apiece, and Savanna Frick added 22 assists.
"We had this thing with the girls that if we did talk about it, we called it 'B.C.' instead of Battle Creek," Iacobelli said. "We would not talk about that place. Now that we're here, it feels good to say the words and know we're going there for sure."
Next up for Novi is the Mattawan-Grand Rapids Christian winner on Thursday.
Erin Armbruster and Katie Snow led North (27-11-4) with six kills apiece. Stephanie Roy added 18 digs, and Lucy Dodge had 20 assists and two aces.
"Novi was on tonight," North coach Chelsea Brozo said. "Your road has to end at some point and tonight was our ending. They're a good team."
Novi got out to a 6-3 lead in the first set and didn't let up. It was the first to 10 (10-5), 15 (15-8) and 20 (20-11).
The second set started the same way as Novi led 5-0. Six of its first 13 points came on blocks and opened a 20-11 lead. With a resounding kill from Claire Pinkerton, Novi took the set.
In the third set, Novi picked up where the first two left off, going ahead 7-3. The set was more back-and-forth as momentum shifted midway through as North cut the lead to 15-14.
"Going into the third set, we knew we were ending the other team's season," Cummings said. "We knew they were going to come back hard and give us everything they had. We just tried to keep everything on our side."
But a service error on North capped the sweep.
"We didn't know much about Grosse Pointe North coming into it," Cotrill said. "So we just wanted to take care of our side. We wanted to serve tough and pass well. I thought we did that."
Cummings left briefly in the third set, after appearing to roll her right ankle. She returned to the match, and did not show any ill effects.
"It was just kind of a shock," Cummings said. "I was definitely scared. As soon as I got off the court and processed that I wasn't hurt, I was fine."
■ Grand Rapids Christian 3, Mattawan 1
■ Livonia Churchill 3, Monroe 0
■ Novi 3, Grosse Pointe North 0
■ Romeo 3, Traverse City West 0
■ A.A. Gabriel Richard 3, Lake Odessa Lakewood 0
■ Battle Creek Harper Creek 3, Coopersville 0
■ Goodrich 3, Livonia Ladywood 1
■ North Branch 3, Cadillac 1
■ Bronson 3, Grand Rapids NorthPointe 0
■ Brown City 3, New Lothrop 1
■ Monroe St. Mary Catholic 3, Laingsburg 1
■ Traverse City St. Francis 3, Calumet 0
■ Battle Creek St. Philip 3, Mendon 1
■ Crystal Falls Forest Park 3, Rogers City 1
■ Leland 3, Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart 0
■ Plymouth Christian 3, Marine City Cardinal Mooney 0
ALL SEMIFINALS AND FINALS AT KELLOGG ARENA, BATTLE CREEK
■ Battle Creek St Philip vs. Plymouth Christian, 2 p.m.
■ Crystal Falls Forest Park vs. Leland, 3:45 p.m.
■ Livonia Churchill vs. Romeo, 5:30 p.m.
■ Grand Rapids Christian vs. Novi, 7:15 p.m.
■ Bronson vs. Traverse City St Francis, 2 p.m.
■ Brown City vs. Monroe St Mary Catholic, 3:45 p.m.
■ Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard vs. Goodrich, 5:30 p.m.
■ Battle Creek Harper Creek vs. North Branch, 7:15 p.m.