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The Riverview volleyball team battled into the final round Saturday at the News-Herald Invitational, but found its path to the championship blocked by Dexter. Photo by Dave Chapman


VOLLEYBALL: Riverview comes close in News-Herald Tournament (PHOTO)

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Riverview was the lone local team to make it to the finals of the annual News Herald Volleyball Tournament Championship on Saturday, but it was visiting Dexter who stole the show.

Dexter beat the Bucs in straight sets (30-28, 25-19) for the championship at Lincoln Park high school.

Riverview led most of the first set, but things stayed close after a 12-12 tie. The Bucs pulled away for a 23-19 lead, but Dexter continued its comeback and the teams saw ties at 23, 24, 25, 26, 27 and 28 before Dexter got the kill for the win.

Riverview took the first lead of the second set, but Dexter soon pulled away, outscoring the Bucs 7-1 and continued to build its lead.

But Riverview pushed its way back in and brought it within three several times, before Dexter pulled away for the win.

“My girls have been the comeback kids all year and they’ve had to handle a few different changes,” Dexter Coach Deanna Day said.

Day’s team did not even know they would be in the tournament until Tuesday when they found out their contract for a Bloomfield Hills tournament hadn’t been received and Lincoln Park had an opening.

The championship win gave Dexter its 40th win of the season.

“The team really came together,” Day said. “When push came to shove, they stepped up.

“That’s the one thing they do very well. When they know they have to dig in, they know they can do it. And they have complete confidence in themselves and their teammates.”

To get to the finals, Dexter had a bye in the first round of the gold playoffs and then knocked off Trenton and Roosevelt.

Riverview had three tough matches against Garden City, Allen Park and Grosse Ile; all of which went to three sets.

“It was a good day,” Riverview Coach Tony Budimerovich said. “I thought we played well in pool and then came out and had three tough matches in the playoffs.”

Budimerovich said his team had the chances against Dexter in the first set, but unfortunately couldn’t finish it.

“In the second we got down and could have easily thrown in the tank,” he said. “We kept cutting the lead, but at the end of the day, they just finished it off. They’re a good team.”

Last year, the Bucs were bounced in the semifinals by eventual champ Grosse Ile and Budimerovich encouraged his team to stay positive after the loss this year.

“I thought they needed to keep their heads up,” he said. “I think whenever you lose in the finals, you’re gonna be down a little bit, but if they keep the day in perspective, it was a great day of volleyball.”

To get to the gold round, Riverview defeated Detroit Renaissance (25-21, 25-12) and Truman (25-8, 25-16) and split with Flat Rock (25-16, 27-25) in pool play.

In the gold bracket, they worked hard and came out on the winning side of three matches that went to three sets. The Bucs defeated Garden City (25-16, 25-12, 17-15), Allen Park (26-24, 25-23, 15-8) and Grosse Ile (25-12, 25-18, 15-9).

Leaders for the day included Anastasia Smith (42 kills), Melissa Mazurek (62 kills, 25 digs), Deanna Smith (30 kills, 152 assists), Kendall Grzywa (82 digs), Cloey Odor (51 digs) and Michelle Burge (15 kils).

Budimerovich said Burge gave the team a little bit of luck in the semifinals.

“She had three blocks in game two against Grosse Ile and really gave us a lift,” he said. “She really started getting some hands on (Kate) Tobin, which I really thought changed the momentum.

“It was nice to see her play well; I think she gave us a nice spark.”

After winning the tournament last season, Grosse Ile was bounced by Riverview in the semifinals.

In pool play, Grosse Ile split with Garden City (25-23, 25-22) and defeated Inter-City (25-11, 25-13) and Melvindale (275-7, 25-9).

In the quarterfinals, they knocked off Anderson (25-16, 25-16).

On the day, the Red Devils were led by Nina Galati (13 aces, seven kills, 106 assists, 24 digs), Kate Tobin (four aces, 48 kills, 22 digs), Santina Galati (three aces, 31 kills, 25 digs), Lea Galati (two aces, 18 kills, seven blocks, 31 digs), Sara Pittman (six aces, 19 digs) and Erin Carney (17 digs).

Roosevelt also found itself in the semifinals before falling to eventual champ Dexter.

In pool play the Bears knocked off Trenton (25-23, 25-23), Baptist Park (25-8, 25-18) and Romulus (25-14, 25-18) to finish first in their bracket.

The team had a bye in the first round of the gold bracket and knocked off Kennedy (25-20, 25-14) before falling to Dexter.

“The girls had a great day and I was really proud of their play,” Coach Alisha Kovalchik said. “They never lost momentum and fought hard to the very end.”

The Bears were led by Sydni Pauley (48 kills, six assists), Alea Kainz (27 kills, six assists, 31 digs), Ciara Woods (26 kills, nine blocks), Regan Kusibab (22 kills, four blocks), Tara Poikey (108 assists, seven aces, 27 digs), and Alyssa Stringa (37 digs).

In Pool A, Dexter took on Richard, knocking off the Pioneers (25-18, 25-16, 25-17).

Richard also faced Anderson (25-19, 26-24, 25-20) and Anderson fell to Dexter (25-16, 25-11, 25-13).

In Pool B, Allen Park defeated Woodhaven (25-19, 25-13), Kennedy (25-22, 25-22) and Lincoln Park (25-10, 25-8). Woodhaven split with Kennedy (25-21, 25-19) and beat Lincoln Park (25-20) and Kennedy beat Lincoln Park (25-20, 25-23).

In Pool C, Inter-City beat Garden City (25-13, 25-18) and Melvindale fell to Garden City (25-11, 25-9) and Inter City (25-19, 25-13).

In Pool D, Trenton split with Romulus (25-22, 25-9) and Romulus beat Baptist Park (25-23, 25-19). In Pool E, Flat Rock split with Truman (27-26, 27-25).

In the gold playoffs, Trenton beat Renaissance (25-21, 25-16) and took Dexter to three (25-23, 25-17, 15-9).

Last Updated: 10/29/2013 2:57:30 PM EST