MADISON HEIGHTS — Though volleyball coach Mark Ott is new to the Madison Heights Bishop Foley program, his roster is filled with athletes quite familiar with the traditions of the Ventures.
Ott’s squad boasts 10 seniors, including three returning starters in Natalie Rudnitsky, Kristin Doxen and Annie Schmidt.
“The kids are really good kids, and I think they’re jelling as a team,” Ott said during practice Aug. 26. “If you don’t play as a team, you’re not going to go anywhere. I see them trying to work together well. I like that. … If we can keep that going, we can have a good year.”
Last season, Foley finished 4-4 in the Catholic High School League West Division.
To improve on that mark, Ott knows he’ll need the help of his three veterans.
Schmidt holds down the setter position.
“She’s phenomenal. She’s an excellent setter and leader, which really helps a lot,” Ott said.
Rudnitsky and Doxen do much of their damage on the defensive side.
Rudnitsky is the team’s libero.
“She’s as good as any libero I’ve seen,” Ott said.
Doxen is a defensive specialist.
“She’s a phenomenal player,” the coach said. “She really gets the idea of reading hitters and moving around.”
The three veterans spoke of the team’s bond, especially with the number of classmates from a small school, all sharing the same floor.
“I think we’ve been progressing since the beginning of summer,” Rudnitsky said.
“We’ve all been coming together over the summer and are seeing improvement,” Doxen added. “I think we’re all changing positively.”
Ott is a veteran himself. He comes to the Ventures after taking a year off last season, but in the past, he has spent time with Ortonville Brandon, Oxford High, Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes and Utica High.
His goal is to win the CHSL tournament and then a district title in the playoffs.
“We have the potential, which I’m sure every volleyball coach in America says, but we have the potential to be a very good volleyball team,” Ott said. “The big ‘if’ is, can we realize our potential?”