Heading into the 2012 campaign, Lamphere volleyball coach Jamie Uhlmann figured the Rams would be in contention to defend their Macomb Area Conference Silver Division title.
But even she didn’t expect Lamphere to be as good as it’s been, sitting with a 7-1 MAC Silver record, 14-12 overall, at press time.
Lamphere graduated seven seniors from a squad that won both a MAC Silver and district championship last season. Teams that lose that many players can typically expect a rebuilding season to follow.
But according to Uhlmann, every player on the team has stepped up and contributed, in an effort to make this season successful, especially her current group of seniors who have helped to fill the void left by the departed graduates.
“Seniors have done a phenomenal job,” Uhlmann said. “Sara (Ormsby), as a middle hitter, is dominating in the league. (Michaela Louis) and Shannon (Paavo) saw very limited play last year, and they’re all-around players. They’re doing exactly what I set out for them to do, and that was last year preparing them for this role. This is the first time we’ve used a libero, and she’s (Christine Ello) doing a phenomenal job. She’s a dynamic player.
“The current seniors have stepped up, and they’re doing a really nice job, as well are the juniors and two sophomores that I have. Every single one of them has done what they were expected to do.”
Uhlmann has high expectations for her players, and she believes those expectations have resulted in a taste for winning. Instead of feeling pressure to duplicate last season’s success, Uhlmann believes her team simply wants more of the same.
“They want it,” she said. “They want to have the league title again. These four (seniors) know what it takes to win, and they have the desire and passion to win. That was their goal — take leagues.”
Then there’s a district title to shoot for.
At least in part to help prepare her team for postseason play, Uhlmann scheduled some challenging tournaments this season. She hopes the experience will pay dividends when it comes time to play in what she considers to be a competitive district.
“Our district’s pretty loaded this year,” Uhlmann said. “We have Country Day, Cranbrook and Notre Dame Prep — and Notre Dame Prep is ranked in the state. It’s always tough going against that type of competition. We hope to do our best. We practice and play day to day for the next step of competition. They’re excited. They can’t wait.”
Lamphere drew a bye in the first round of district play.
The other two teams in the draw are Southfield Bradford Academy and Clawson.