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Harrison Township

October 23, 2013

Strong play has L’Anse Creuse volleyball team as one of top teams in MAC

By Jason Carmel Davis
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
The Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse volleyball team at press time had nearly doubled its win total from last season, when it won 13 matches. Pictured is Lancers coach Derek Ledwidge talking to his team during an Oct. 15 matchup against Fraser High.

HARRISON TOWNSHIP — The Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse volleyball team hasn’t taken its foot off of the gas since winning the 2013 Macomb County Kickoff Classic Aug. 23.

The Lancers at press time sat at 24-6 overall, 6-1 Macomb Area Conference Red Division. That divisional record puts L’Anse Creuse in second place behind Macomb Dakota — the defending Michigan High School Athletic Association Class A state champions.

The Cougars have yet to drop a match this season and had a record of 30-0, 7-0 MAC Red at press time. Dakota and L’Anse Creuse played their second and final matchup after press time. The Cougars downed the Lancers 3-0 Sept. 26.

Lancers coach Derek Ledwidge said strong leadership — spearheaded by its senior captains, middle blocker/hitter Jaevyn Wortham, outside hitter Leah Rose and setter Sam Picckett — has a been a key cog in their success. Those three have been named captains for the season.

“The seniors have led the way,” said Ledwidge, in his first season with the Lancers, “but everyone is there to pick each other up — both on and off the court.

“We have kept up high-intensity play the majority of the time. Sometimes during games and matches, we start to slow down, but the majority of the time, we are in that ‘attack now’ mentality.”

Ledwidge said that mentality has played a major role in his team’s fortunes thus far. He said his team is talented, but it tends to start slow in matches.

Ledwidge said, though, the Lancers always step up in crunch time and constantly attack the ball.

“Whether it’s hitting the ball, passing the ball or blocking the ball, we are always in attack-and-finish mode,” Ledwidge said. “Playing with this mentality makes us always in the game and ready to finish. Even when we have a bad game or make a bad play, when the time to play well comes, we are always there putting up our best effort.”

The success L’Anse Creuse has had this season comes on the heels of the Lancers capturing an MHSAA Class A district title in 2012. Prior to that, L’Anse Creuse had some lean years and hasn’t won a league title since 2009.

Earlier this season, Ledwidge said his team would be competitive in every match and that it could perform well in the MAC Red. That has proven to be true. He said he has several other goals in mind for the team — some that change on a daily basis.

“I always have set team goals in mind that go throughout the season. More importantly are my secondary goals,” Ledwidge said. “These goals change from week to week. It really depends on whom we’re playing the next game and what we’re struggling with.

“In the middle of the season, we kind of started lacking in the blocking department, so we focused on that in the next couple of practices. Constantly changing goals keeps us fresh and sharp.”

The Lancers next hit the court for a matchup against Grosse Pointe North, set for 7 p.m. Oct. 24 at North.

The 2013 MHSAA state volleyball playoffs begin with district play, which begins Nov. 4. Check www. mhsaa.com for matchup information.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Jason Carmel Davis at jdavis@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1107. Twitter Follow Jason on Twitter.