Defending the ‘Silver’

Lamphere volleyball attempting to repeat as MAC Silver champions

By: Mark Vest | Madison - Park News | Published August 28, 2017

 Lamphere’s Crystal Baker dives to get to the ball during a preseason match against Ferndale. The Rams will attempt to successfully defend last season’s Macomb Area Conference Silver Division championship this year.

Lamphere’s Crystal Baker dives to get to the ball during a preseason match against Ferndale. The Rams will attempt to successfully defend last season’s Macomb Area Conference Silver Division championship this year.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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Musician Tom Petty sang that “the waiting is the hardest part,” and for three seasons, that is what Madison Heights Lamphere’s volleyball program did.

From 2013 to 2015, the Rams finished second in the Macomb Area Conference Silver Division to St. Clair Shores Lakeview, finishing one match back in one of those seasons and two in the others.

Last year, with its antagonist (Lakeview) having moved to another division, Lamphere made its way to the top, as the program shared a MAC Silver championship with Roseville High.

“It was pretty awesome,” said coach Patty Waidknecht. “They were just that close, so finally to break through, they showed themselves how strong they really were.”

Alexis Wark, Destiny Carr and Jordan Tomsett will be entering their respective senior seasons, and each was chosen as a team captain.

Tomsett said winning the MAC Silver title was a big deal.

“It was a lot of fun,” she said. “We were very excited for how little our school is.”

Winning a championship could also work in Lamphere’s favor this year.

“I think it could make a huge difference,” Carr said. “I think that really pushes us and motivates us to do better this year.”

Although Lamphere did lose some players from last year’s team, Waidknecht still has talent to work with, including junior Brenna Murphy.

But the veterans aren’t the only ones capable of contributing.

“I have a really hardworking group of girls this year, even my younger ones,” Waidknecht said. “They seem very dedicated and very coachable. They want to be good. That’s half the battle right there. They have a strong drive.”

Wark has already seen enough positives to comment that it is “inspiring to see how much we’re (going to) grow throughout the entire season.”

Waidknecht’s vision for Lamphere’s program is more than just a short-term one. About four years ago, she started a summer camp for kids entering fourth through eighth grades, and that decision is proving to pay off.

“We had a good showing of freshmen coming out this year,” Waidknecht said. “I think getting them involved (at) an earlier age, and showing how much fun volleyball is, I’m starting to reap the rewards of that. These kids are playing a little younger and enjoying it and picking up this game a little earlier.”

Lamphere has finished first or second in the MAC Silver for five consecutive seasons, and Waidknecht thinks her team should be at the top again.

She doesn’t need to wait for matches to begin to get excited about a new volleyball season.

“About mid-March, I start getting excited for volleyball season,” Waidknecht said. “You start missing it a lot. I miss the girls; we get pretty close. I can’t wait to start playing. You look great (at) practice, but you see your flaws once you get in the games, and then we start adjusting from there.”

The Rams take on Hazel Park High at 6 p.m. Aug. 30 on the road, before returning home to play Warren Fitzgerald at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 7.

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