BATTLE CREEK – Nationally ranked and undefeated, Ann Arbor Richard (41-0) is one victory away from completing a perfect season.
Goodrich found out just how good the Fighting Irish were in Friday night’s Class B semifinal at Kellogg Arena, As Richard won in three games, 25-17, 25-9, 25-14, to advance to today’s final.
Richard, winners earlier this season against Novi, a Class A finalist, came out firing even in warmups and was flawless from the opening serve, and never challenged.
Senior Emily Tanski was a Miss Volleyball finalist, but junior Jurnee Tipton was drawing attention by rifling lasers across the net in preparation for the match; right in the face of the Goodrich players.
The 5-foot-8 outside hitter kept it up throughout the match, finishing with 15 kills. Tanski also had 15.
“Jurnee has been hitting like that for us all season,” said Richard coach Mayssa Bazzi. “I still think she took it a little easy tonight. Every time she took a swing I said ‘I’ve yet to see it.’ I think she’s saving it for tomorrow. I don’t think a single one of our hitters took the swing that we took Tuesday night against (Lake Odessa) Lakewood.”
Tipton said it was nerves.
“We’ve never made it this far,” said Tipton. “It’s exciting, but also it is nerve-wracking. Emily is a great hitter. From my freshman year I looked up to her a lot. She was always able to put the ball away. She always looked like she was having fun. She’s also very kind. Whenever we’re in the hallway she’ll always greet us. She has a good vibe to her.”
That’s because her teammates are like a family to her.
“We’re motivated,” said Tanski. “We want to win it. We’re dedicated. We’re a family. We love each other. I’m so blessed to be able to share this experience with them. I wouldn’t want to have any other team by my side.
“Our tournaments and playing against Class A schools got us ready for this. Going undefeated it was a surprise to us. It shows the character of our team. We’ve been down in games, but we’ve never stop. We keep pushing.”
Goodrich got as close as 19-16 in the first game before the Fighting Irish closed it out by winning six of the next seven points.
With three kills early in the second game, Tipton helped the winners take an 8-2 lead as the Irish continued to dominate the net.
On full throttle not even a timeout could stop the Irish offensive onslaught.
Senior middle blocker Sydney Burton (12 kills), Tipton and junior India Woods provided Tanski plenty of help on an imposing front line.
The Catholic League champs also scored the first five points of the third game.
Contact Perry A. Farrell: 313-222-2555 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @farrellperry.