Defending Michigan High School Athletic Association Class B champion and Division 3 No. 4-ranked Pontiac Notre Dame Preparatory went 6-0 and didn’t drop a set to win the Spartan Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 8, at Battle Creek Lakeview.
It was the Irish’s second tournament victory of the season as they improved to 21-5 on the season.
The invitational featured eight ranked teams and four Miss Volleyball finalists.
Notre Dame started the tournament with a 25-15, 25-16 win over Portage Northern. Natalie Risi led the scoring from the line serving up 12 points and four aces she also had four kills and seven digs. Maddy Chinn was dominate at the net as she had 10 kills (hitting .562), three blocks and seven digs. Maria Famularo served up eight points, one ace and had six assists and 10 digs. Aly Borellis added three points, two aces, five kills and eight assists.
The Irish then took on Division 4 No. 4-ranked Battle Creek St Philip, winning 25-19, 25-20. Famularo had 10 points and two aces, seven kills, 10 assists and four digs. Chinn had 11 kills, a pair of assists and seven digs. Risi had three points, 10 kills, and eight digs. Borellis contributed four points, two aces, three kills, 16 assists and seven digs. Olivia Kowalkowski had a team high 10 digs.
Notre Dame beat Vicksburg 25-17, 25-16 in the final match of pool play. Chinn led the attack with six points, six kills, two assists and four digs. Risi had five points, three aces, six kills and four digs. Famularo had five points, two aces, two kills, nine assists, and five digs. Emily Mohr, who leads the team in blocks, had a game high five blocks and added four points, three aces and two kills. Kowalkowski again led the team on defense with seven digs.
In the quarterfinals, Notre Dame beat Battle Creek Harper Creek, 25-9, 25-11. Mohr’s seven points, three aces, four kills and three blocks led the Irish. Chinn added seven points, four aces, two kills, two blocks and 10 digs. Famularo had seven points, one ace, two kills, eight assists and six digs. Borellis totaled five points, six kills and six assists. Risi added three points, two aces, six kills and five digs. Bianca Giglio contributed three points and two kills. Kowalkowski added another 10 digs to her team leading defensive efforts.
The semifinals, Notre Dame downed Division 1 No. 7-ranked Battle Creek Lakeview, 25-15, 25-19. The game showcased three of the 10 Miss Volleyball finalists: Chinn and Risi for the Irish and Sidney Schiller for the Spartans. Chinn was once again was a force as she had four points, seven kills, three blocks and seven digs. Risi kept pace with five points, two aces, six kills, two blocks, and four digs. Famularo had five points, three aces, five kills, six assists, and five digs. Borellis had seven points, 10 assists, and five digs. Kowalkowski had six points, two aces, and another 10 digs.
Notre Dame beat three-time defending MHSAA Class C champion and Division 3 No. 1-ranked Bronson in the final, 25-20, 25-13. The Vikings also feature a Miss Volleyball finalist in Kiera Lasky. Risi served up 11 points and one ace while adding nine kills, a block, and 12 digs. Chinn also had 11 points and added two aces to go with four kills and 12 digs. Famularo added seven kills, 11 assists and nine digs. Borellis had five kills, 10 assists, and six digs. Kowalkowski had 12 digs.
Chinn now has surpassed both 2,000 career kills (2,018) and 400 (413) career blocks in her career. She is only fourth player in Michigan to surpass both marks.
Photo: Kim Bucchi Photography
Right: Pontiac Notre Dame Preparatory Miss Volleyball candidate Natalie Risi (7).