• Michigan

Novi knocks off Northville in district finals, reclaiming the district championship from its rival

By: MATTHEW B. MOWERY, November 8, 2019, 8:22 am

NORTHVILLE — Well, that whole ‘Someone else’s turn’ didn’t last long.

A year after Northville interrupted Novi’s run of four straight state titles by ousting the rival Wildcats in the 2018 district finals, turnabout became fair play Thursday night.

The Wildcats paid back that ouster with interest, beating the Mustangs — who’d used their window of opportunity to make a run to last year’s Division 1 semifinals — by winning in four sets, 25-15, 25-27, 26-24, 25-23, to reclaim the district championship trophy.

Novi (30-7-6) advances to next week’s regionals at Howell, where they’ll face Brighton, a 3-0 winner over Howell in Thursday’s district final at home. [For the full district pairings, CLICK HERE.]

Like the two ranked teams — both were honorable mentions in the final poll — they are, the Wildcats and Mustangs went at it in Thursday’s district final.

Novi jumped out to an 8-1 lead in the first set, and rode that margin to a 10-point win, but from there until a double-digit lead in Set 4, the two teams would rarely be separated by more than a few points, either way.

Northville took a timeout trailing 23-22 in Set 2, then ran off five of the next seven points to tie the match up at 1-1. The Mustangs nearly did the same in Set 3, trailing 22-20 after Novi’s Rachael Wexler rolled in a lucky over-pass and Shannon Jennings recorded an ace, reclaiming a 24-22 lead after two aces on Jenna Boksha’s jump serve and a block. Megha Gondi’s solo block tied it at 24-24, then the Wildcats took the set on two straight hitting errors by the Mustangs.

Novi carried that momentum into Set 4, jumping out to an 8-2 lead, and holding a 20-10 advantage before the Mustangs began to dig their way out of the hole. 

Byron called timeout when Northville cut it back to 20-14, then again when the Mustangs got it down to just one, 24-23. 

Rachel Jennings had three aces and 21 digs, while Sarah Vellucci had three aces, 10 kills and 17 digs for the Wildcats. Gabby Cummings had 16 kills, while Gondi had nine, Sarah Calanchi had 18 digs, and Shannon Jennings had 15 digs and 35 assists.

Jaden Rice led Northville with 14 kills, while Boksha had 12. Juliana Imbuzeiro had 21 assists, while Livvy Setta had 14.