Greenhills and Manchester lose in Class C regional semifinals
In Tuesday's Class C volleyball regional semifinal at Auburn Hills Oakland Christian, Greenhills School was two points away from forcing a deciding fifth set.
However, Madison Heights Bishop Foley was two points away from winning the match and did, taking those last two points to beat the Gryphons 25-17, 25-15, 17-25, 26-24.
Overcoming some early nerves in their first regional game in coach Tiffany Willard's 11 years, the Gryphons (18-10-5) were close to erasing a two set to zero deficit and heading into the fifth with all the momentum.
"I think if we'd won that fourth game, we'd have dominated in the fifth game," Willard said. "Very disappointing, but we played very hard."
Willard said she liked the way her team didn't fold after falling behind.
"They battled, they came out with heart," she said. "They fought, they stayed aggressive."
The Gryphons achieved their biggest pre-season goal: Playing together as a team. In the past, Willard said when things went wrong, players would point fingers. But this group had the best on- and off-court chemistry of any team she's coached.
"I can not say enough about this group of girls," Willard said. "I'm really honored that I got to coach them."
ADRIAN MADISON 3, MANCHESTER 1
Adrian Madison beat Manchester 3-1 (22-25, 25-11, 25-19, 25-14) in a Class C regional semifinal at Grass Lake High School.
The Flying Dutch (36-12-7) had lost both of the teams' regular season meetings, both close matches in tournament finals.
"Our hitters were having a little trouble with their blocks," Manchester coach Jennifer Caszatt said. "Adrian Madison has a lot of weapons."
While Adrian Madison went on some serve runs in the last three sets, Caszatt said all the points were hard-earned.
"They fought through," she said. "I'm very proud of them because they never gave up."
Caszatt will go back to coaching the JV team next season, a position she's had the past four seasons. Caszatt was pressed into varsity duty this year because of Sarah Andrew's maternity leave.
"It's always sad when you lose," Caszatt said. "But this team has accomplished what no team in Manchester history has."
Those accomplishments include the Dutch's first conference title in 28 years and first district title in 17 years. This year's team had eight juniors that will be experienced seniors next year.
"I've really enjoyed this," Caszatt said of varsity coaching. "They'll definitely be successful next year."