By Seth J. Walker
Southfield, Michigan- The Lawrence Tech Blue Devils (7-3, 1-0 WHAC) won their home opener, Wednesday night in a three set sweep (25-23, 25-23, 25-6) over the Michigan-Dearborn Wolverines (3-7, 0-1 WHAC). In what also served as their conference opener, the Blue Devils faced a Wolverine team which wouldn’t die during the first two sets.
“I think we started out a little bit scared,” Blue Devils junior setter, Kriti Doherty said. “Our nerves were definitely getting to us, but it was nice to pull out a big win at the end.”
The Wolverines even led early in the first set before the Blue Devils took over. The Blue Devils managed to withstand late Wolverine rallies to secure set points in those two sets. Blue Devils head coach, Ed Ruhl then spoke to the team during the intermission so they could be more consistent.
“This is our house,” Ruhl said. “We have to defend this house and let anybody go 23-25, 23-25 and they seemed to respond and I was really happy.”
The happiness came from the dominant third set the Blue Devils then had with a 25-6 win. Sophomore outside hitter, Jess Lodge, led all attackers with 10 kills. This is actually her first year at Lawrence Tech. At this time last year, graduate from Macomb Dakota High School was actually at Flager College, an NCAA Division II College in St. Augustine Florida.
“I had a great time, but unfortunately, they didn’t offer my degree, so I decided to come home.” Lodge said. “Ed called and he asked me if I wanted to come,” Her response was a “heck yeah.”
The rest of the offense was very balanced with three players each recording five kills and two others, four kills each.
Doherty, who had 27 assists, is one of three juniors on the team along with middle hitter, Zakia Hunt and opposite side hitter, Varvara Gromakova, who as freshmen, were part of Blue Devils team which had a huge turnaround from nine wins to 18. Last year, as sophomores, they were all part of a 20-win team. With their 7-3 start, the program is in prime position to take the next step and potentially move into the WHAC’s elite.
“It’s definitely gotten better every year,” Dorherty said. “We have a better culture, a better work ethic. Everyone tries harder all the time. You can really see it in our play.”
For the Wolverines, junior opposite side hitter, Bronte Michura had nine kills while senior libero, Caitlyn Carlson had 13 digs.
Both teams will resume action next Wednesday with home games as the Blue Devils will host Lourdes and the Wolverines host Siena Heights.