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Published: Tuesday, 9/20/2005

Ex-players aim Blue Devils for top

BY DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Springfield High's girls volleyball team is contending for the Northern Lakes League championship.

The Blue Devils last won a league title back in 1999.

Neither Springfield's first-year coach Mark Davidson, nor his assistant coach/wife, Laura Davidson, was part of that triumphant season. Yet they know plenty about what it's like for Blue Devils to celebrate winning titles.

Mark was a member of the Springfield boys team that won a state championship in 1993, while Laura was a key member on the girls teams that won league titles in 1995 and 1996.

Keeping that Blue Devils tradition alive has been a major reason for staying involved in the program.

"It's a selling point for us and it's something we're really proud of," said Mark Davidson, a 1994 Springfield graduate. "We're always looking to finish at the top."

The Blue Devils entered the week with a 4-1 league record. They take on Perrysburg - a team undefeated in league - in a major tilt on Thursday in the Yellow Jackets' gym.

Laura Davidson, a 1997 Springfield graduate, is optimistic about the team making a run at the NLL championship.

"We're a talented bunch of girls," she said. "When we're on, we're on and no one can stop us."

Keeping the coaching within the Blue Devils family doesn't end with the Davidsons. LaNae Malcolm, Mark's sister, is the girls junior-varsity coach. She was a three-time Blue Devils most valuable player (1987-89). Former varsity coach Dianne Brown, whose husband, Robb, is the school's athletic director, remains involved in the program, working with the eighth-grade team.

"We talk about volleyball all the time, so there are times when we say we're not going to talk about volleyball, like at dinner time," Mark said.

Maumee girls tennis coach Jamie Redway is pleased with how the season has played out for the Panthers in her first year.

The Panthers entered the week owning a 9-4 record with No. 1 singles player Lindsay Diegel and No. 2 doubles team, Tiffany Painter and Caitlin King, leading the charge. All three are juniors, which makes next year look quite promising.

Diegel, who finished third among No. 1 singles players in league a year ago, owns a 11-2 overall record in matches this season. She will be among the favorites when the NLL tournament takes place on Monday and Tuesday.

"She's very consistent and she has a very good head on her shoulders, so I can always count on her," Redway said. "Having someone with that mentality at that spot, I can depend on her. I don't have to worry about her."

Redway, who actually teaches science at Anthony Wayne, had minimal contact with Diegel and the rest of the Panthers prior to this school year. Diegel, who prefers playing along the baseline, has been somewhat of a surprise.

"I did expect her to get a lot of wins because of her consistency," Redway said. "I think she probably plays better than I expected.

"She has the ability to win points and not just defend against points."

Painter and King began the week without a defeat at No. 2 doubles.

Craig Smith is in his ninth season as the Anthony Wayne football coach. The Generals head man didn't only come into the season hoping to contend for a league title, Smith also stood on the brink of a milestone victory. He was three victories shy of collecting 50 as AW's coach.

Four weeks into the 2005 campaign and the Generals remain in pursuit of their third victory. They fell 24-9 to Rossford last Friday, their second straight defeat after opening the season with consecutive wins.

The Generals' next opportunity to give Smith his 50th win comes this Friday, when they face defending league champion Southview in The Blade's Game of the Week.

Southview stands 2-2 overall and 1-0 in league.

McIntire was a Maumee golf coach 12 years ago when he stepped down from the post. He returned to the coaching ranks this fall when he filled a coaching vacancy for the Panthers' girls golf team. McIntire felt the time was right for a return to coaching, especially with all the teams from the NLL set to play a girls NLL golf league schedule beginning next season.

Currently, the girls participate as independents or in leagues with other local teams.

"It's only going to help girls golf [in the league]," McIntire said. "It will let more kids see this as a viable place to play golf."

Contact Donald Emmons at: demmons@theblade.com or 419-724-6302.

SWANTON - Paced by John Powers's 68, Bowling Green easily won the Northern Lakes League golf tournament yesterday with a total of 300 strokes at Valleywood.

Northview was second with 306, Southview was next with 307, followed by Anthony Wayne (319), Springfield (319), Maumee (323), Perrysburg (327) and Rossford (341).

Bowling Green, witch also won the overall championship (tournament plus league matches for 38 points to runner-up Northview's 31) got a 74 from Alex Clifford, 77 from A.J. Donnell and Tony Graham and Pierson Halleck each shot 81.

Chase Yacko and Ben Treece paced Northview with 75s and Tim Hurst added a 77 and Ali Monazahian a 79.

Southview's Kurt Kincade and Casey Riggs shot 73s and Karl Evanoff added a 78.

Springfield's Chris Lieber had a 74 and Matt Grant shot 78.

Jason Glass of Anthony Wayne and Corey Nelson of Maumee each had a 76, and Perrysbutg got 78s from Tommy Harman and Eric Hoops.



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