Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard tops Notre Dame Prep to win first CHSL A-B Title
Livonia – Entering Monday’s Catholic League A-B Championship match against Pontiac Notre Dame Prep with an unbeaten record, Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard didn’t get off to the best of starts as it would drop the opening game of the match.
But that was about all that would go wrong for Gabriel Richard as the Fighting Irish responded in a big way, winning each of the next three games to win their first Catholic League title topping Notre Dame Prep in four games, 21-25, 25-17, 25-19 and 25-19.
Gabriel Richard coach Mayssa Bazzi said that she felt her team wasn’t playing at its best in the first game of the night, but felt that the Fighting Irish got back to playing their game, that had led them to their No. 1 overall ranking in the state.
“I know it was a closer set, 21-25, but we definitely gave up too many hitting errors,” she said. “I just told them to take deep breaths and to remember to play like we know that we can and it was more intense that we had to be better and we are better and it showed on the court.”
After dropping the first game, Gabriel Richard stormed out to a convincing 15-6 lead in the second game after kills from Jurnee Tipton and Sydney Burton.
Gabriel Richard would then use kills from India Woods and Jesse Fannon as well as a block from Tipton that would help close out a 25-27 win in game two to tie the match at 1-1.
Tipton said that it was key for her team to calm down after the first game and get back to taking care of the basics.
“Just being calm and letting each other know that it’s okay,” she said. “We know what to do, we know how to pass, set and hit, and we just needed to pull through and naturally do that.”
In the third game, Gabriel Richard would grab an early 11-6 lead, but Notre Dame Prep battled back to cut the deficit down to 12-10 after a kill from Caitlin Fitzgerald, but Gabriel Richard responded 7-3 run, capped off by a kill from Burton to give the Fighting Irish some breathing room and a 19-13 lead.
Gabriel Richard would go on to take a 2-1 lead heading into the fourth game after a kill from Emily Tanski would seal a 25-19 win in game three.
Tipton finished the night with a game-high 20 kills, while Tanski chipped in with 13 kills to help lead the way for Gabriel Richard.
In the fourth and final game of the night, Gabriel Richard jumped out to a 18-9 lead after three kills from Burton as well as another kill from Tanski and a block by Woods as the Fighting Irish would roll to a 25-19 win.
With the win, Gabriel Richard improves to 34-0 on the season as the Fighting Irish enter the postseason with an unblemished record.
In the game, Notre Dame Prep would hold a 15-12 lead over Gabriel Richard after a kill from Fitzgerald and would go on to take a 25-21 win in the first game after Fitzgerald registered a block and a kill to seal the win.
Notre Dame Prep coach Betty Wroubel said that the key to her team’s win in the first game was communication and added that a lack of communication is what hurt her team throughout the rest of the match.
“We communicated,” she said. “We came out, executed our game plan and we communicated. We thought we could score on them and we did and serve tough and figured out the lanes we wanted to serve in to help our block and we did it. But then something happened, and I don’t know if we drank the water or something, but we got to the other side and we stopped communicating and we didn’t execute our game plan.”