Article and photos courtesy of MIPrepzone
By Dan Fenner
ROCHESTER HILLS >> Rochester Adams put the finishing touches on a division championship Thursday, as the Highlanders took care of business against West Bloomfield, emerging with an efficient sweep, 25-9, 25-23, 25-18.
The win completed a perfect 7-0 record in the Oakland Activities Association’s White Division this season, making it the first league title for Adams since 2014.
Led by a trio of seniors – Olivia Gongos, Paige Hedlund, and Annabelle White – the Highlanders have enjoyed an accomplished season to date with their season record sitting at 26-7-1 overall.
“I think every year our goal is to win the division and move back up to the OAA Red,” Adams coach Bridgette Harding said. “We wanted to take control of the division and be in the power position to be able to close out on teams.
“We had a lot of injuries going into our league games. We played without our setter, Sophi Noll, and moved up a JV setter. We overcame a lot and met the goal we had in mind. Our seniors stepped up and really carried us, but it was nice that we could rely on different players each night.”
On Tuesday, Adams made quick work of West Bloomfield in the opening set, running off the first five points in quick succession and never looking back.
The Lakers did not go down quietly in the two remaining games, however, as the Highlanders were forced to rally each time from multi-point deficits.
In the second set, West Bloomfield led 21-17 before Adams ripped off the next six points out of a timeout and prevailed when Hedlund’s tip over the net caught the Lakers by surprise for the winning kill.
The Highlanders grabbed the third set as well after climbing from an early 6-2 hole.
“It’s a testament to our team that, at the end, we were down three or four points and came back to close them out,” Harding said.
Hedlund led with a season-high 19 kills, while Noll recorded 32 assists, five aces and five digs from her setter position.
“Paige Hedlund, she’s big for us every night and when she’s on, teams can’t stop her,” Harding said. “She’s a 6-foot-2 hitter that just puts the ball down.
“We have three seniors that have really carried us with their leadership on and off the court. That’s always important to have their composure and their spark plug.”
With over three weeks still to go before the start of the district playoffs on Oct. 30, Adams will have plenty of time to fine-tune its game in preparation for its next set of goals. The team will compete in a district hosted at West Bloomfield.
“We take each match one at a time. Our goal is to be firing on all cylinders as we go into the playoffs,” Harding said. “We want to keep getting better as a team and individually, and to get healthy.”