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Madison Heights

November 14, 2012

Local volleyball players and coach receive season-ending honors

By Mark Vest
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
Lamphere's Sara Ormsby was named MVP of the Macomb Area Conference Silver Division.
Pictured during practice is Lamphere senior Shannon Paavo. Along with teammates Sara Ormsby and Alexis Hilliard, Paavo was selected to the Macomb Area Conference Silver Division All-Conference team.
 

Madison Heights Lamphere’s Sara Ormsby picked up the Macomb Area Conference Silver Division’s top honor when she was tabbed Most Valuable Player.

Prior to being informed of the honor by Lamphere coach Jamie Uhlmann, Ormsby didn’t know that league MVP awards were given. She was happy to find out that indeed they are, and that the coaches within the division cast the votes.

“It’s a really big honor to know that other coaches from other teams think that I’m good enough to be MVP of the whole league,” Ormsby said. “It means more than anyone will ever know. Volleyball — I guess you can call it my first love. I don’t play anything else. Volleyball’s what I do. So to win MVP, it’s something else.”

Other than her first two seasons with Lamphere, Uhlmann has been Ormsby’s main coach, guiding her since the eighth grade.

And, along with the support she has received from her parents and teammates, Ormsby credits Uhlmann for helping her reach the level of an MVP-caliber player.

“My coach helped me a lot,” she said. “She’s a big role model for everyone on the team and other teams. I know what she expected of me, and she knows what to expect of me. Her expectations got higher and higher as the years went on. Hopefully, I’ve showed her everything she expected. Having the same coach, knowing her techniques, and working so hard over summer for conditioning and throughout the whole season — it’s been a lot. We worked hard, and it’s got me to where I am now.”

The appreciation is mutual.

“She’s a hard worker,” Uhlmann said of Ormsby. “She is totally dedicated to volleyball. She plays in the offseason with the Macomb Juniors — one of the few kids that have done that. Just a good kid (with a) very supportive family. (She) works hard at practice and takes constructive criticism extremely well. She wants to improve, and she wants the team to do well — very selfless player.”

With her volleyball career at Lamphere behind her, Ormsby has started to think ahead. Three of her goals are to continue playing volleyball, go to California and attend college.

She believes she can accomplish all three by attending Los Angeles Valley College, where she is considering enrolling in a biology program, en route to a possible future in dentistry.

But wherever life after high school may take her, Ormsby is not likely to forget her time as a member of Lamphere’s volleyball team.

“It’s definitely something I’m going to miss,” she said. “My high school career is kind of focused on volleyball. That’s all I focused on throughout the whole year, even (when) my volleyball season was over. I’m going to miss all my teammates. I look forward to coming back in a couple years and seeing my teammates and how they’re progressing.”

Other Macomb Area Conference honorees:
Lamphere’s first-place finish in the MAC Silver was reflected in the number of Rams selected for the honor team, as teammates Alexis Hilliard and Shannon Paavo join Ormsby as All-Conference selections.

“She is just a phenomenal athlete,” Uhlmann said of Hilliard. “She has a great court awareness. She knows where the ball is (and) where she is. That’s something you can’t just teach a kid. She’s a junior, so I expect a lot from her next year. (Senior) Shannon Paavo is everywhere and just puts 110 percent into every game. All over the court, does whatever you ask of her. She helps set, she’s a back row player, and she’s a hitter.”

Uhlmann, who has led Lamphere to two consecutive MAC Silver titles, picked up a postseason honor, as well, earning the division’s Coach of the Year award.

“It feels good,” she said. “All of us — we work hard. We try to do the best we can. I’m pure fundamentalist, old-school volleyball, and that makes me feel good that the basics can still do it.”

Madison Heights Madison’s Amanda Mac was named to the MAC Bronze All-Conference team.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mark Vest at mvest@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1112. Twitter Follow Mark on Twitter.