Greenville faces tough road to district final

By Bruce Bentley • Last Updated 9:47 am on Monday, November 04, 2013

Greenville’s Stacey Fitzgerald serves the ball during a match this season.

GREENVILLE — The Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) volleyball district tournaments begin today across the state.

The road to a district title for the Greenville Yellow Jackets is always a tough one. This year, isn’t going to be any different, as the Yellow Jackets open up tournament play tonight against the host Forest Hills Northern Huskies in the Class A District No. 7 bracket.

The Huskies are an honorable mention in the Class A Michigan Interscholastic Volleyball Coaches Association poll this week. Northern also defeated the Yellow Jackets twice during the regular season.

“These girls have the heart and dedication. They want this match and they know they are capable of winning,” Greenville coach Amy Rupno said. “They know they have to stay positive in every situation and every point whether it’s ours or Northern’s.”

Northern defeated the Yellow Jackets in Greenville on Oct. 8 in a thrilling five set match 27-25, 12-25, 25-22, 13-25, 15-9. Northern won again at home last Thursday 25-21, 25-19, 25-22.

The win Thursday gave the Huskies (39-9-1, 9-1) the O-K Bronze title. The Yellow Jackets finished the season 32-9-3 (7-3).

“Home court always has its advantages. I think the girls let the Northern crowd get in their heads and they lost focus,” Rupno said. “They need to stay committed on the court and team. They can’t focus on the stands. We also struggled serving in the second match against Northern.”

Still, both losses to Northern have been close.

“We are right there with them,” Rupno said. “We just have to make less errors and place the ball smart.”

The Yellow Jackets have a talented team.

“We need to go out, have fun and play our game,” Rupno said. “We need to cut back on our mistakes and be confident in our hitters.”

The winner of Greenville’s match will face the winner of today’s Cedar Springs/Lowell on Wednesday. The district final is on Thursday at 7 p.m.

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