Maddi Gutzki knew the Bath volleyball team was in need of someone to step into the libero role following an injury a couple years ago.
And she was up for the task of filling that void.
The senior has filled that role the last two seasons and been part of the successful run for the Class C No. 7-ranked Bees.
“I love it,” Gutzki said of her role as a libero. “I get so many people coming up to me asking me why I have a different color jersey. Passing has always been my passion. It’s what I wanted to do since I was little, and it’s what I want to do when I graduate high school. I feel like it’s helped me become the person who I am.”
Gutzki, who was voted the Lansing State Journal high school athlete of the week, was one of 10 seniors that helped Bath finish unbeaten in the CMAC this fall and capture the title at the league tournament last weekend. She helped the Bees navigate their way out of the loser’s bracket to knock off No. 9 Laingsburg to win the title at the double-elimination tournament.
“With having 10 seniors, you start to realize what you can do and what your potential is,” Gutzki said. “We decided our season goal was to go undefeated in the league and try and go as far as we can in the postseason. At the beginning of the week, coach was talking to us about how important not only Wednesday was for us, but the weekend. Wednesday we had to beat Fulton, and we beat them in three. Saturday was probably the biggest part of our week for us.
“We dropped down to the loser’s bracket and managed to stay alive so we had to beat Laingsburg again in the finals. We were able to come back and beat them two games in a row, which was really big for us because that’s what we had to do last year too. That probably was the biggest part of our week because we had to work so hard Saturday.”
The state tournament run wound up ending for the Bees with a four-set setback to No. 9-ranked Laingsburg in a Class C district semifinal Wednesday, but Gutzki was proud of what she and her classmates accomplished this fall.
“This is our class and this is who I grew up with and who I’ve been playing with since I was a little,” Gutzki said. “To be able to see all of us play on one team and go as far as we’re going (is great). It’s such like a benefiting feeling knowing that all those practices we didn’t want to go to and all those summer workouts we didn’t want to go to (were worth it).”
Contact Brian Calloway at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.