DETROIT, MI–Mustang Volleyball held the inaugural Marygrove College Invitational on Saturday at U of D Jesuit High. Adding to the excitement of hosting their first tournament, the Mustangs were able to run of three straight wins to advance to the finals.
The three wins were a welcome sign after a 0-13 start to the first season of volleyball at Marygrove. A special day would begin with a spirited effort against the junior varsity squad from NCAA Division II, University of Findlay. The Ohio school’s JV was no match for the Mustangs during the opening match of the inaugural invitational. A three set sweep (25-16, 25-17, 25-18) would punctuate the first victory in Mustang Volleyball history.
Two hours later, the Mustangs would meet Pool A counterpart Kuyper College. Coach Graves and the Mustangs jumped all over the Cougars from Kuyper with an attack that appeared as if no freshmen were on the court. A newfound confidence was visible for the youthful Mustangs that was missing during the slow start to the season. The confidence, combined with momentum from the earlier win, propelled the team to another impressive sweep (25-18, 25-21, 25-9).
The fight for Pool A supremacy would come down to Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.) rivals Indiana University-Northwest and Marygrove College. Both teams entered the heavily anticipated match boasting a 2-0 record. The winning team would punch their ticket to the invitational championship.
Indiana University-Northwest, a team that previously defeated the Mustangs in three straight sets, came out firing on all cylinders and quickly shot out to a 1-0 advantage in the match. Staring down a one-set deficit, the Mustangs rallied together for another incredible effort. The Mustangs rallied back to take the next two sets behind the dominant play of freshmen Jalissa Favors and Shannon Pietruszka (Marygrove College Invitational Co-MVP’s). The fourth set would be all Mustangs as the team completed Pool A competition with an unblemished (3-0) record. The win would setup a championship match with the winner of Pool B.
The Warriors from Rochester College would await the Mustangs as they skated through Pool B with a 3-0 record. The Warriors defeated the Mustangs on Monday in straight sets. The Mustangs knew they would need to play their best to upend the Warriors (#1 in the USCAA) in the championship match. However, the Warriors had other plans as they dropped the Mustangs in straight sets again (25-15, 25-20, 25-22). The Mustangs would finish in 2nd place at the inaugural Marygrove College Invitational with a 3-1 record on the day (3-14 record overall in 2009 season).
Jalissa Favors (Southfield) and Shannon Pietruszka (Garden City) would be tabbed Marygrove College Invitational Co-MVP’s. The freshmen tandem paced the heroic efforts that led to a three match winning streak.
“I can’t express how proud I am of the team today. The girls came out and played with great heart and spirit. It was nice to see them enjoy the wins they worked so hard for today. We are growing stronger as a team and I expect big things from our team as we move toward our goals this season,” said Head Coach Karen Graves of her invitational finalist squad.
Category: Women's Volleyball