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Macomb Township

Lutheran North volleyball program making progress

September 20, 2012

» click to enlarge «
Lutheran North’s Katie Draeger (2) sets the ball for teammate Danielle Schomaker (11) during a recent match. The Mustangs have a strong group of leaders on the team.

MACOMB TOWNSHIP – From strategic game and practice planning to little things like making sure the gym is set up for home matches, everything is running smoother for Lutheran North’s volleyball program in Kristina Gilchrist’s second year as head coach.

“It’s so much easier,” Gilchrist said before a recent match. “And (the players) know me now. They know what I expect. It’s just easier for everyone.”

It helps having an experienced squad.

“We have a lot of returning players, so we have really good leadership on the team,” Gilchrist said.

The Mustangs were 6-6 overall at press time, 1-1 in the Catholic League’s AA Division.

Nearing the midway point of the season, the coach noted the team’s strengths and what it could improve on.

“Defensively, we’re looking pretty good,” she said. “I would like to see our offense connect a little bit, maybe run a little bit more plays and keep serving aggressively.”

She added that she wants everyone in the program, from the freshman team to the varsity, to be mentally stronger and focused.

“Volleyball is so mental, that’s what we’re trying to push,” the coach said.

Gilchrist highlighted seniors Rebecca Viviano, Danielle Schomaker and Taylor Hentgen, and junior Kaitlyn Gilchrist as some of the squad’s top players.

Schomaker, a middle hitter from Shelby Township, wants to see the team achieve success in the regular season and playoffs.

“We definitely want to be successful in the Catholic League … and strive to take districts this year, and hopefully, we do that,” she said. “I think we have a strong team and a lot of great girls, so hopefully, we can do that.”

Viviano, a defensive specialist from Clinton Township, noted how the team’s solid chemistry helps it on the court.

“We’re really close as a team, so we support each other,” she said. “I think we really come together, even when we’re falling behind.”

A big part of that chemistry stems from the team’s strong communication skills, according to Hentgen, an outside hitter from Shelby Township who described the squad as having a “tight bond.”

“We have our ups and our downs, and I think that when we communicate, we do very well,” she said. “When we work together, we can accomplish things, and when we don’t talk, we don’t click.”

Kaitlyn Gilchrist, an outside hitter from Macomb Township, said the Mustangs want to keep momentum on their side.

“It’s huge,” she said. “You want to keep that momentum and keep pushing to that next point.”

Catch Lutheran North in action at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 11 at home against Pontiac Notre Dame Prep.

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