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Knights make it 3 districts in a row



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Head coach Joe LaMagno, standing far left, and his Liggett varsity volleyball players are all smiles after winning another district championship. Photo courtesy of Michelle Hicks

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Head coach Joe LaMagno, standing far left, and his Liggett varsity volleyball players are all smiles after winning another district championship. Photo courtesy of Michelle Hicks
November 14, 2013
It was a rough start to the season.

The loss of several solid seniors left the Knights searching for the right chemistry to try to duplicate what that group accomplished the past four seasons.

Head coach Joe LaMagno went through several lineups and a few pep talks during the journey.

All the hard work and preaching paid off as the Knights began to click in the second half of the season. The result was a nice five-match league winning streak in October.

Last week, Liggett continued its fine play by beating host Madison Heights Bishop Foley 22-25, 25-23, 25-21, 25-22 in a Class C district semifinal.

"The girls really played well after a sluggish start," LaMagno said. "They played with a lot of intensity and won a big game against a good team on its home court."

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After the Ventures won the opening game, the Knights were able to gain a split by narrowly winning the second stanza. The Knights built a comfortable lead and had to hang on down the stretch.

"We just needed a couple of big points to put it away," LaMagno said.

It looked like the Knights were going down to defeat, trailing 21-16 in game three.

In stepped junior Zarine Minwalla, who promptly put the team on her shoulders and served nine consecutive service points, including a few aces, to send the Knights to a stunning 25-21 win and a 2-1 lead in games.

The Knights' defense, led by juniors Carina Ghafari and Kacie Wuthrich, and senior Sarah Edmonds, did enough to limit Bishop Foley's offensive effectiveness, and their offense, led by junior setter Courtney deRuiter, junior hitter Olivia Wujek and sophomore hitter Emily Kanakry, proved too hard to handle for the Ventures.

The perfect mix was a perfect blend for what turned out to be a district championship victory two nights later over Detroit Edison.

"I told the girls to stay focused and to not take them (Edison) lightly because they want to win a district title just as bad as we do," LaMagno said.

The Knights went on to defeat Edison and capture a third straight district championship.

Liggett improved to 13-15-2 overall.

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Ed Rinke