L’Anse Creuse volleyball fighting for first in MAC Gold

By: Jonathan Szczepaniak | Mount Clemens-Clinton-Harrison Journal | Published October 19, 2023

 L’Anse Creuse senior Ava Kern goes up for a hit against Clawson.

L’Anse Creuse senior Ava Kern goes up for a hit against Clawson.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

HARRISON TOWNSHIP — When Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse coach Megan Haas described her team as ‘messy’ this season, it was for all the right reasons.

As opposed to two years ago, messy may have been the term used for all the wrong reasons to describe L’Anse Creuse volleyball.

Going 0-10 in Macomb Area Conference Blue play in 2021, L’Anse Creuse needed a reminder of what they were capable of as a team, and the move to the MAC Gold has done just that for the Lancers.

Holding an 8-2 record in conference play last season that catapulted the team to second in the league, L’Anse Creuse’s 8-1 conference record this season has the team hungry for a league title.

Behind their six senior veterans this year, L’Anse Creuse (15-10) is playing energized and as a complete unit.

“I feel like we all just get along super well,” senior Alexa Ward said. “The team just started to click as soon as we started playing together.”

Ward headlines the Lancers’ hitting group alongside senior Alana Powell and juniors Ella Rivard and Hannah Verhaeghe. Junior defensive specialist Alyssa Gulisano has played a vital role on the backline for the Lancers.

Ward has been a dominant force on the frontline for the Lancers, but her versatility has paid off as well on the floor.

“She’s a huge hitter,” Haas said. “She’s just overall well-rounded. Last week, I had to pull her out of the middle, and she played all the way around. She’s powerful and she’s competitive. She has that drive.”

Senior Alaina Dujardin and junior Lily Cairo anchor the setter spot for L’Anse Creuse while senior Sydney Duryee continues to shine at the libero position.

An impact player last season and a floor general for L’Anse Creuse volleyball, Duryee’s presence will be missed after she graduates this season.

“She’s going to be a tough loss,” Haas said. “She’s a stud. I don’t have words. She holds it down.”

But before anyone graduates, L’Anse Creuse has its work cut out for it down the stretch, but the team is playing its best volleyball at the right time.

In matches against Warren Cousino and Roseville to start the month of October, L’Anse Creuse found a side of the team that has been missing from past seasons.

Earning victories in both, Haas said her squad was battle-tested in different ways, and she said she expects that to pay off in the state tournament.

“Those were games we had to figure out how to win, and we had to figure out how to win a little messy and a little scrappy,” Haas said. “We definitely noticed we couldn’t just play the typical volleyball and start banging balls. We had to figure out ways to win.”

Currently tied with Marine City for first place, L’Anse Creuse will end its conference play schedule with a battle against the Mariners on Oct. 24 at Marine City High School, after the Journal went to press.

L’Anse Creuse fell to Marine City in their first matchup on Sept. 27, but Ward said the team has a different mindset going into the game.

“I feel like the first time, we were definitely a little more cocky than confident,” Ward said. “We had cockiness over confidence. This time we play them, we’re going to be a little more humble about it and try to actually lock in and beat them.”

L’Anse Creuse is slated to open up district play against Macomb Dakota on Oct. 30 at Dakota High School.