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Dragons sink Wildcats in district opener

November 09, 2011 - It was a one and done for the varsity girls volleyball team during districts.

Oxford entered the opening round of district play on Tuesday, Nov. 1 with the task of slowing down Lake Orion's potent offense. Instead, it was Lake Orion who shut down the Wildcats, earning a three set to none victory over Oxford.

The Dragons won game one 25-18, game two 25-16 and game three 25-19.

"Our gameplan was to go point for point with them and never let them get more than two points on us," varsity head coach Kristi McDevitt said. "They are a powerful team, and if you get in a hole against them, it is pretty hard to get back."

The Wildcats were able to keep pace with Lake Orion until they reached the 13, 14 point mark. Then the Dragons put the clamp down and pull away for an easy win.

Senior Katie Bearse led the Wildcats with eight kills, while sophomore Darien Bandel and senior Lindsey Leppek each contributed six kills.

Seniors Maggie Rourke and Olivia Krause combined for 30 digs.

McDevitt said there were some mental breakdowns that allowed the Dragons to pull away.

"The thing that was upsetting was that it wasn't like Lake Orion earned it. They don't hit the ball harder than anyone we've seen, they don't block (better). We just did it to ourselves," she said. "We just had some stupid mistakes on our side of the net."

"Bad passing, we had some mental breakdowns on serve receive where we couldn't get the ball to our setters," McDevitt explained further. "We proved in a few rotations when we get the ball to the setter, our hitters were putting the ball down and getting kills and getting points."

"But we would have a mental breakdown on service receive and they would rally off three or four points," she said.

However, McDevitt said she was pleased with her team's overall performance.

"I couldn't have asked for anything more. They came out and played hard," she said.

The Wildcats finished with a 31-25-3 record.

"It was a great season and it was probably one of the most talented teams I have ever coached," McDevitt said. "They came into the season knowing what they wanted, and they had a great team. They all got along...It wasn't like it was a complete loss of a season since we lost in districts, they had a good season."

However, even with all that talent, she said her team struggled with that killer instinct.

"We were content to go point for point with teams that were far below our level instead of going out and hammering them," she said. "That competitive fire is something we are going to have to improve on in the next couple of years."

Even though eight seniors will graduate from the squad, McDevitt has a good core of juniors and sophomores she can build the future of the program around.

"The seniors are going to be greatly missed, but I do have a group of strong players coming back...hopefully these younger girls have a want to win," McDevitt said.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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