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Spikers take first place at Northwood tournament



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Holding up their first place trophy are Oxford High School’s varsity volleyball players. They earned their hardware by going 6-0-1 at the Northwood University tournament. (click for larger version)
September 26, 2012 - The Oxford Varsity volleyball team traveled to Northwood University to participate in a seven-team round robin tournament on Saturday.

The Wildcats made the best of their travels by going 6-0-1 in the tournament for the trophy and first place honors.

"We had a great week of practice, and this tournament was the perfect opportunity to put their efforts at practice to what counts," said Coach Kristi McDevitt..

And make it count, they did. Oxford defeated Bullock Creek, Beaverton, Lakeview, and Hale in pool play before splitting with Meridian 25-16, 20-25.

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Oxford would need to defeat Goodrich in two games in the final match of the day for the trophy. Oxford shot out to a hefty lead against Goodrich in the first set and never looked back defeating the Martians 25-19, but the second set for the title didn't go as smooth.

Finding themselves down 19-10, Coach McDevitt called a timeout for a little heart-to-heart. "I told them this was a defining moment for them. We know we are the better team, yet we are letting them run away with the game and the title. I told them this was a defining moment for them as a team, were they going to fight for it or just keep giving it to them?"

Sophomore Kennedy Orr set up Darien Bandel for a kill (11-19) and the Wildcats put on the pressure. With Bandel serving, Oxford scored 9 straight points off of a kill and a block by senior Meagan Neff, a block by junior Taylor Taraski, and tough defense that made it impossible for Goodrich to put the ball down on Oxford's side.

The two teams battled for the match, but it was Oxford that prevailed in the end 28-26 after being down 10-20 in the match.

"Impressive. That is what that was, we played so good, tightened the defense, hit our spots, and just beared down and played like I know they can. It was phenomenal to watch the transformation on the court from a team that was losing to a team that wouldn't go down without a fight," McDevitt said.

Bandel finished with 42 kills, Neff with 22 kills, and senior Maddy Line finished with 24 kills. Sophomore Kennedy Orr tallied 88 kill assists, and Tarren Lesczcynski and Aviana Paese combined for 102 digs on the day.

"We had a positive day from every member of this team. It was a great day to play above the competition all day and have everyone contribute to the victory," McDevitt said.

The win improves Oxford's record to 16-10 overall. The Wildcats travel to Troy on Thursday and the Goodrich invite on Saturday.

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