N.D. Prep cruises into semifinals, 3-0
Clawson – Three years ago Pontiac Notre Dame Prep coach Betty Wroubel saw something she liked in her freshmen class. Wroubel couldn’t put her finger on it but she knew she had to keep these freshmen together, and on varsity.
Led by Miss Volleyball Katherine Carlson Notre Dame Prep, for the second time this season, swept Dearborn Divine Child 3-0 in a Class B quarterfinal on Tuesday at Clawson High School.
N.D. Prep (57-5), the defending state champion, will play North Branch, a 3-0 winner over Cadillac, in a semifinal on Thursday at Battle Creek Kellogg Arena at 7:15 p.m.
Wroubel, who started coaching varsity volleyball in 1975 at Clawson, watched Carlson and fellow seniors Ashley Knutson, Angela Adams and Hannah Antosz as freshmen three years ago and made the decision to keep on varsity. Time has shown that was a wise move.
“We knew we had something special,” Wroubel said. “This group is so close. This group is phenomenal.
“I was very nervous for this game. We didn’t play against a couple of their players the first time. Our defense did a phenomenal job for us. They were the ones who were most focused. It’s not me. I wasn’t focused. Yesterday I was so nervous with the Miss Volleyball award.”
Carlson, a 5-11 outside hitter, was outstanding against Divine Child. She had kills on consecutive points to give N.D. Prep a 16-10 lead in the first game. Her drop shot made it 21-13 and a Carlson ace put the Irish one point away from victory. Gabrielle Shilling’s block ended the game, 25-13.
In the second game Carlson had two service winners and the Irish led 8-4. Carlson scored four straight points, two on kills, two on drop shots as N.D. Prep increased an 11-8 lead to 15-9. Her drop shot made it 20-9 and the Irish went on to win the game, 25-12.
The Irish completed the sweep, 25-15.
Carlson had 25 kills, three aces and 13 digs. Junior libero Emma Kowalkowski had 22 digs and 21 service receptions and seven points. Bella Bucchi had 10 digs and 7 points, and Erica Schwegman had eight kills and Ashley Knutson tallied 19 assists and 11 digs.
“We came out scrappy and worded hard,” Carlson said. “And we didn’t want the ball to hit the floor. It’s been a great adventure. We’ve been pushing toward our goals. Our team chemistry has been the difference. These last two days have really been great; a dream come true. We had so much energy today. It was just a lot of fun.”