WarrenOctober 31, 2012
Fitzgerald volleyball team wins first division title since 2007
By Jason Carmel Davis
C & G Staff Writer
The Warren Fitzgerald volleyball team won its first MAC Bronze title since 2007. Pictured, Christina Gojcaj (3) makes a play on a ball during an Oct. 25 match against Ferndale while teammate Sasha Sokolvskyy (7) looks on.
WARREN — The Warren Fitzgerald volleyball team has finished in the top three of the Macomb Area Conference Bronze Division seven of the past eight years, yet the Spartans only had one division title to show for their efforts.
That changed this season, as Fitzgerald captured its first MAC Bronze title since 2007.
The Spartans (13-1, 9-1 MAC Bronze) shared the division championship with New Haven High.
“It feels really good because we’ve been so close for so many years,” senior back row player Beth Michalski said. “To see all of our hard work pay off is really special.”
Fitzgerald first-year coach Maria Marcotullio, who played for the Spartans and graduated in 2006, said camaraderie has played the biggest role in her team’s success. Marcotullio added she believes Fitzgerald won’t be a one-year wonder.
“We definitely have a lot of leadership on our team,” Marcotullio said. “We struggled at the beginning of the year with some coaching changes, but when I finally got my team together, there was nothing holding us back from being the best team we could possibly be.
“Each and every one of the players has worked so hard to get here, and it feels awesome to be able to share a (district) title with them.”
Marcotullio said having eight seniors on a team of 11 made the hunger to win stronger.
The coach added that captains Tia Carter (a senior), Lindsay Bullock (junior), and Michalski led the charge, exhibiting great leadership on and off the court.
“We came together really well as a team,” said Bullock, one of three juniors on the team.
“Gaining confidence each game and having a great coach have been just as important as building relationships, though.”
Marcotullio said Bullock, a setter, has become a huge asset. She said the Fitzgerald hitters have stepped up in recent weeks, adding that the Spartans’ defensive specialists might be the heart and soul of the team.
Those positives will need to remain at the forefront, as Fitzgerald goes into the postseason. The Spartans’ Oct. 29 Michigan High School Athletic Association Class B district quarterfinal matchup with Detroit Pershing took place after press time.
The quarterfinal winner faces Ferndale High at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 31 in a Class B semifinal. The Spartans are the host of a district.
“We need to remain focused going into (the playoffs),” Marcotullio said. “We’re trying to bring everything together. We’re looking to find a rhythm, and when we do, we’re going to be a very hard team to beat.”
For information on where other local volleyball teams will begin the playoffs, check www.mhsaa.com.