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Superior trio volleys with next move

Upon hearing the news that her father's promotion required a move from Superior to Grand Rapids, 17-year-old Ally Keute called a family meeting. "She said she had an idea to float by the family," father Todd Keute said of the meeting attended by ...

Upon hearing the news that her father's promotion required a move from Superior to Grand Rapids, 17-year-old Ally Keute called a family meeting.

"She said she had an idea to float by the family," father Todd Keute said of the meeting attended by his wife Lori, Superior's varsity volleyball coach, and their youngest daughter Maddie.

The senior told her parents that, instead of graduating from Superior, she preferred to change high schools as soon as the volleyball season was over in November in order to keep her 14-year-old freshman sister company at the new school.

"That was a very mature decision and it shows just how close the sisters are," said Todd, a former publisher of the Superior Telegram, who took a promotion as regional operations director at Superior Publishing Corporation and will manage 10 newspapers from his Grand Rapids base. "She thought it would be easier for her little sister to have somebody at the (new) school. It made the transition for Lori and me that much easier."

The announcement surprised Lori, who is in her third season as Superior coach.

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"We assumed we would stay and let her finish her senior year," she said. "But she thought it would be best, in order to make it easier for Maddie to transition to a new school, to be along with her."

The decision wasn't an easy one for the Spartans' outside hitter.

"It's definitely bittersweet," Ally said, "but I want to be there for my younger sister. She's my best friend, so I don't want to leave her alone."

Before that happens, the sisters hope to make their final months in Superior memorable. The Spartans began the season 9-2 before losing 3-1 to Hibbing on Tuesday night at home. Hibbing scored 12 of 13 points at the end of the third game and beginning of the fourth game to break open a tight match and win 25-13, 25-27, 25-20, 25-19.

Lori Keute knows how hard it is to beat Hibbing since she spent three years as rival Virginia's head coach nearly 20 years ago, back when Bluejackets coach Gail Nucech was only midway through her 43-year run at the helm.

Keute might be across the net from Nucech again next year at Grand Rapids. She says she will offer her services, even if it's as a volunteer assistant.

But right now, she's going to enjoy coaching two daughters one last time.

"These two set a good example as far as being coachable," Lori said. "When I tell them they're not doing what I need them to do, they know I'm not saying 'I don't love you.' "

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Maddie, a setter and libero who had 11 set assists against Hibbing, is glad it's a family affair.

"It's a lot more fun with them," she said.

Ally had four kills and nine digs vs. Hibbing. Even though mother and daughter can get after one another at times, she says it's been a blast.

"I couldn't ask for a better coach," Ally said. "Even though she knows how to push my buttons and I know how to push hers, I love having her as a coach. It's an experience not a lot of people get to have, and I'm glad I did.

"This is extremely memorable; I couldn't ask for a better senior season."

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