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Grosse Pointe North players and coaches are all smiles after beating city rival Grosse Pointe South in a Class A district championship match. photo by Bob Bruce.

November 14, 2013
In one magical moment, Grosse Pointe North used a comeback for the ages to beat archrival Grosse Pointe South in last week's Class A district championship match on its home court.

The Norsemen won the first game 25-18, but trailed the Blue Devils 22-12 in game two.

Then lightning struck and the Norsemen scored 14 of the final 16 points to pull out a stunning 26-24 win to take a commanding 2-0 lead in games before winning game three 25-18 to complete the sweep and win the district title they gave to the Blue Devils last fall.

"I told the girls to not give up, but realistically we were prepared to play game three with each team at one win apiece," North head coach Kim Lockhart said. "It was a huge confidence boost when we came all the way back to win the game we had no business winning."

In the pivotal second game, the Blue Devils were off and running, thanks to a solid service game from senior Hannah Adams and an aggressive offensive attack led by junior Izzy Murphy and freshman Lexi Kohut.

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Head coach Kevin Nugent had his Blue Devils firing on all cylinders in the second stanza. Everything was working as the blocking was strong, digging was solid, hitting was on fire and serving was clicking.

Up 22-12, it was almost a given the match would be tied 1-1 heading into a pivotal game three. At this point, it was a given the match would go five games.

The momentum changed when Norsemen junior Christa Raicevich served six straight points, including four aces, before the Blue Devils could get a sideout. All of a sudden, the comfortable 10-point lead was cut in half at 23-18.

Norseman sophomore Erin Armbruster's tip for a sideout made it 23-19 and junior Katie Roy's three service points, with one ace, brought the home crowd to their feet with the score 23-22.

Murphy's kill brought the Blue Devils within a point of winning at 24-22, but that would be the last point they would earn in the game as the Norsemen closed it out by earning a sideout on a kill attempt which went long, a junior Maddy Bessert kill and a junior Olivia Ritchie tip.

After Ritchie's tip hit the floor for the final point, Lockhart gave a fist pump and the Norsemen embraced.

The Blue Devils' shot at defending their district championship took a major hit and the air went out of their sails as the South fans went silent and the players lost a step as the teams took the court for the third game.

In the third game, Ritchie collected most of her five kills as the Norsemen's leading hitter, Raicevich, left the court after feeling ill.

Roy's serving helped the Norsemen build a 24-17 lead and Raicevich put the match away with a kill for the winning point after returning.

"We still believed we could win, even when we were down 22-12," senior Caitlin Gaitley said. "That was an exciting win and it was a team win. We all had to pitch in to win."

Gaitley had six kills, while Armbruster finished with nine for the Norsemen and Bessert had seven.

Raicevich led the team with 11 kills and six aces, and Roy had three aces to go with a team-high 21 digs. Junior Vita Aluia had 15 digs, while Raicevich had 13 and junior Kelsey Parafin added 12 digs to thwart the Blue Devils' one-two punch of Murphy and Kohut.

Senior Colleen Reveley had 27 assists to help Grosse Pointe North improve to 23-14-7 overall.

In the semifinals, North whipped Eastpointe East Detroit in three games, and Grosse Pointe South crushed Detroit Osborn in three as it ended the 2013 season 26-15-4.

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