VOLLEYBALL: Saline Sweeps Okemos to Win its First Volleyball Regional Championship Since 2005

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WOODHAVEN - The Hornets are regional champs.

The Saline varsity volleyball team swept Okemos in straight sets, 25-13, 25-15 and 25-17. Saline will face Richland Gull Lake in the quarterfinal at 6 p.m., Nov. 15, at Mason High School.

It's the Hornets' first volleyball regional championship since 2005.

"It feels like the best thing in the world right now," said Hornet senior and middle hitter Beth Ann Ford.

Senior outside hitter Anna Hesse delivered the final blow - a spike that was never returned.

"It feels awesome. This team deserves everything like this," Hesse said. "We came in and we took care of business and we did it for each other. It was definitely a team game tonight.

Setter Laney Burns was busy dishing to Hesse, Catherine Flaharty, Ford, Addison Ashley, and Marie Laurie - when she wasn't scoring points with tips.

"This is so great. We haven't been regional champs since 2005 - so this is history-making," Burns said.

Junior libero Olivia Behen spent the game making sure the Okemos girls didn't touch the Saline floor very often.

"It feels so good. Last year we lost in the regional finals. Even just to make it here feels good - but to win, it's incredible," Behen said. "We've been working so hard and I'm so proud of everyone."

Darien Bandel is continuing her incredible run as a first-year coach. She's coached the Hornets to the SEC Red crown, the district championship and now the regional championship.

"It feels surreal. These girls have been working and working. It's just such a long journey. For us to come out and dominate the way we did, for all of our scouting reports to go the way they did, you can't count on anything better as a coach," Bandel said.

Coach Bandel said the Hornets are proud of what they've accomplished and appreciative of the community's support.

"I've been approached by so many parents and so many alumni about how important it is how this chemistry and culture is coming together," Bandel said. "We have a community behind us and they want to see these girls do well."

Bandel said a player from the 1984 Saline Class B state championship team contacted her through Facebook to express support.

Bandel said the goal is to get to the Kellog Arena and compete for the state championship.

"There's a Class B state title and we're thinking a Class A now," Bandell said.

Interviews:

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Download photos from our gallery here.

You can download photos and buy prints from Saline volleyball matches by clicking here.

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