‘Scrappy’ West Bloomfield High volleyball team off to a fast start

By: Zachary Manning | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published September 13, 2019

 West Bloomfield High’s Lauren King spikes the ball against Rochester High Sept. 10. At press time, the Lakers were 10-3 overall.

West Bloomfield High’s Lauren King spikes the ball against Rochester High Sept. 10. At press time, the Lakers were 10-3 overall.

Photo by Sean Work

 The West Bloomfield High volleyball team celebrates winning a point against Rochester High Sept. 10. The Lakers are in the OAA Red this season.

The West Bloomfield High volleyball team celebrates winning a point against Rochester High Sept. 10. The Lakers are in the OAA Red this season.

Photo by Sean Work

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WEST BLOOMFIELD — After winning the Oakland Activities Association White Division last season, the West Bloomfield High volleyball team is now in a different position.

As favorites in the division in 2018, the Lakers played a lot of their matches with a target on their backs and were expected to win.

Now in the OAA Red, they have become the underdogs and are the ones playing with a chip on their shoulder. Coach Lauren DeLuyck-Forbes and the Lakers don’t mind being looked past at this point and have stuck to their motto of “trust the process.”

“Last year, we had a huge target on our backs because we were obviously expected to win the White, and we did,” senior Lauren King said. “This year, we just get to have fun and play and just be ourselves, and the other teams have the target on their back and we can go attack them.”

A common word that DeLuyck-Forbes and her players used to describe the team was “scrappy.” DeLuyck-Forbes said it’s probably the scrappiest team that she’s had.

The goal for the Lakers is to never let the ball hit the floor, a goal that has them off to a solid start. West Bloomfield hasn’t played a divisional match yet, but was 10-3 overall at press time.

“I think it’s so awesome for us to play with so much passion and just having fun with it, and just remembering why we’re here: to have fun,” junior Grace Allread said. “We’re all buddies and we’re all just giving our best effort, and it’s fun to just not let the ball hit the floor.”

Being in the Red Division will have its challenges, and the Lakers know that. Their goal is to compete in the division and win their district.

West Bloomfield fell in a Division 1 district final last season, and for the seniors, getting another shot at advancing would be a great feeling.

“It would be amazing to win districts,” senior Bailey Sloney said. “I already love this team so much, so just to win it with everyone and just how much work we’ve already put in, it would just be amazing to win it.”

For DeLuyck-Forbes, winning a district holds a different meaning. For her, it’s about taking the program to the next level.

“We haven’t won districts since the ’90s, so it would be huge to win districts this year, and we have the team that can do it,” DeLuyck-Forbes said. “They just have to put their mind to it. They’ve got to fire on all cylinders. I think it would really show that this program is at the next level that it needs to be at.”

The Lakers will hit the court again at 7 p.m. Sept. 19 at Birmingham Groves.

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