State champs to celebrate Sunday

Irish look forward to celebrating state title at annual banquet.

On Sunday at their annual banquet, Notre Dame Prep's volleyball team will celebrate a season that culminated with a state championship, a season that by nearly every measure was an historic one for the Irish.

At Battle Creek's Kellogg Arena, Notre Dame's volleyball capped their stellar season with a 25-16, 25-17, 28-26 victory over Lake Odessa Lakewood to win the program’s third state title in 11 seasons. The Irish won the Class B title without dropping a set throughout the tournament.  

In an article published in The Detroit News after the final match, NDP's legendary coach Betty Wroubel said she couldn’t be more proud of her team.

They’ve worked very hard for this,” said Wroubel, who also guided the Irish to state championships in 2007 and 2013. “My two four-year seniors Lauren Burnick and Gabrielle Shilling were here in the Final Four their freshmen year, and their sophomore year they experienced a disappointing loss. It was at that point they said it was never going to happen again, that we’re going to win a state championship before we graduate and they led us here and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

The win marked the 53rd consecutive victory for the Irish, who did not drop a match since August 26 or a set since October 14. Notre Dame also broke a school record for wins in the season with 64, topping the previous record of 62 in 2013.

Lakewood gave the Irish all they could handle in the third as the Vikings led as many as six points, but Notre Dame battled back to eventually take the set. 

Natalie Risi continued her strong performance, hitting .471 in the final match with 17 kills (including the match point), 12 digs, and six blocks. Senior and four-year starter Gabi Shilling hit .632 with 12 kills and eight blocks.  Also contributing to the balanced Notre Dame attack were Taylor Raiola (three kills, five digs and two blocks, Morgan Verheyen (12 kills), Lauren Burnick (42 assists), Maddy Chinn (nine kills, seven digs and three blocks), and Maria Famularo (10 digs).

On the year, the Irish played and beat over 25 state-ranked teams in Classes A and B and came back to avenge both early-season losses by defeating Lake Orion and Mercy. 

As far as next season, Notre Dame volleyball loses Burnick, Audrey Damman, Olivia Heming, Morgan Holycross, Destiney Sandle and Shilling to graduation, but Wroubel believes the team will be very competitive once again.

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About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy
Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. The school's upper division enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower divisions enroll students in jr. kindergarten through grade eight. All three divisions are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school's home page at

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