Young Lakeview volleyball team ready to compete

By: Jason Carmel Davis | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published August 25, 2017

 St. Clair Shores Lakeview’s Ri’Shynah Lewis, left, and Angelina Schummer elevate to block a shot during an Aug. 18 match against Macomb Dakota. The Huskies hope to bring the program a district championship after falling one win short last fall.

St. Clair Shores Lakeview’s Ri’Shynah Lewis, left, and Angelina Schummer elevate to block a shot during an Aug. 18 match against Macomb Dakota. The Huskies hope to bring the program a district championship after falling one win short last fall.

Photo by Deb Jacques

ST. CLAIR SHORES — The St. Clair Shores Lakeview volleyball team is young, but coach Tom Pfiefer won’t use that as an excuse for the squad to not be competitive this season.

The Huskies, who went 26-15-3 last season, have three freshmen on varsity for the first time in a long time, Pfiefer said. He called the trio — Kathryn Dozek, Tricia Sankiewicz and Ariana Wlodeck — extremely talented and said he’s impressed with how they’ve quickly acclimated to varsity volleyball.

“All three of them have played for a long time. Their competitiveness is impressive,” Pfiefer said. “They all have the physical skills. We haven’t had to scale anything back. We just push them harder to make them learn faster. I think that’s going to benefit us in the future. I’m excited to see how the group grows.”

Pfiefer said he thinks the team is a bit ahead of schedule. That’s because the veteran players have stepped up to ensure the youngsters have an understanding of what needs to be done to win.

The team’s seniors — Kristine Frasard, Abby Haas, Samantha Kemp, Erika Kirkland and Gj Biblekaj — have provided strong guidance.

A junior, though, will lead the charge.

Grace Allor is a three-year varsity player who is strong at the net, Pfiefer said. He called her the team’s leader.

Allor said being identified as team leader makes her feel as if her hard work and dedication have paid off. Allor said she and the other veterans are doing all they can to give the younger players confidence.

“Since high school volleyball is much different than middle school, they’re still trying to adjust to the higher level of play and become more confident when on the court,” Allor said.

The youth has jump-started the team.

“The vibe around the team is really good right now,” Pfiefer said. “I think being so young this season has kind of rejuvenated the program. I’m excited to see where we go.”

The team has had great success in Macomb Area Conference divisional play in recent years. Lakeview won three straight MAC Silver titles from 2013 to 2015 and finished second in the MAC Gold last season in its first year in the division.

The Huskies are back in the Gold, which was won by Marine City High last season. Pfiefer expects that program to still be tough, but ultimately the coach wants to bring his program its first postseason championship.

The Huskies last fall fell 3-0 to Grosse Pointe North in a Class A district final. Lakeview could match up against the Norsemen again, as North hosts the district this season, which also features Eastpointe High, Roseville High and St. Clair Shores Lake Shore.

“We’ve been to district finals. We’ve been very successful in league play. We need to elevate our play to the point that we can compete with Grosse Pointe North,” the coach said. “I think the youth we have, mixed with the returning players, I think that can happen, but we have to prepare for that moment.”

“We’ve got tremendous skill and athleticism on the team this year,” Allor added. “Personally, I’m very excited to see what this team can do.”

Lakeview next plays Aug. 30 in a tournament hosted by Rochester Hills Stoney Creek.