Bishop Foley volleyball gets new coach in middle of season

By: Christian Davis | Madison - Park News | Published October 22, 2013

Anita Partyka admits she was surprised to find herself in the new role of head coach of the Madison Heights Bishop Foley volleyball program.

Partyka took over the team at the beginning of October, when Mark Ott resigned.

“I didn’t see it coming, but it was exciting,” Partyka said Oct. 15.

Partyka was the JV coach earlier in the season.

At press time, the Ventures were 12-8 overall and 5-4 in the Catholic High School West Division. The squad is 4-3 under Partyka.

“It was a good idea, and in the best interest for the girls and the team,” Ott said of stepping down.

Along with coaching three years at Foley, Partyka is also a 2008 Foley graduate. From there, she played volleyball at Albion College and is currently finishing her degree at Oakland University.

Partyka’s first match was against Allen Park Cabrini four days after she took the job. The team had only one practice before the match with its new coach.

“I couldn’t really do anything yet because the lineup was set,” she said. “I don’t know how to explain it. It was cool, but also kind of scary. It took some time getting used to, but the girls are great, and they’re very coachable.”

Partyka said her style of volleyball is different than Ott’s; she said she has a much more aggressive approach.

“I played in college, so I like to run a faster offense and faster defense. It’s cool to have the girls capable of running it. We run a lot of plays at the net, and it’s a lot faster pace,” she said.

Partyka added that she’s also influenced by former Foley coach Brian Kim. Partyka coached the freshmen team under his watch, as he led the Ventures to a Class C quarterfinal appearance in 2011.

“Basically, when I stepped in, I kind of tried to get it back to what (Kim) had going. I’m in constant contact with Brian,” she said. “He’s just a great guy, and I definitely ask him what he did and how the girls responded. He’s still very helpful.”

Partyka said her first message to the team was that this is a fresh start, and it’s time to move on like it’s the beginning of the season. She said with the help of freshmen coach Laura McQuad, everything has been going as planned.

“Between me and her, they’ve responded like sponges trying to learn as much as they can,” Partyka said. “It’s cool when you see someone take what you’re saying and turn it into something on the court.”

Catch the Ventures against Warren Fitzgerald at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 24 on the road.