Utica Eisenhower players celebrate a point in a Division 1 district semifinal against Utica High Nov. 1. The Eagles beat the Chieftains 3-0 before falling to Rochester Hills Stoney Creek in the district final.

Utica Eisenhower players celebrate a point in a Division 1 district semifinal against Utica High Nov. 1. The Eagles beat the Chieftains 3-0 before falling to Rochester Hills Stoney Creek in the district final.

Photo by Erin Sanchez


Ike volleyball season comes to a close in district final

By: Jacob Herbert | Shelby - Utica News | Published November 12, 2018

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Utica Eisenhower’s volleyball season was ended by Rochester Hills Stoney Creek Nov. 2 in a Division 1 district final.

The Eagles were defeated in three games, which marked the second year in a row that the Cougars knocked out Ike.

“I know that the girls were mentally ready,” Eagles coach Caitlin LaPratt said. “I know we worked on a lot of things to try and shut down some of their offensive options that they had. We were able to handle some of those areas, and we came up short trying to defend their middle hitter. She had a great game against us.”

Ike finished the season at 29-16-3 overall, which included a 10-0 mark in the Macomb Area Conference Red Division. All things considered, LaPratt still takes pride in her team’s undefeated season in conference play. She noted how impressed she was with Ike’s ability to play top-notch volleyball over the course of a month and a half.

“I think that winning your league proves that you are consistent. It’s tough to beat teams two times,” LaPratt said. “The goal is to play them better the second time around, and I think that we accomplished that. To play consistently in league matches against teams that are equal in talent as you and beat them at a consistent basis is just as good as winning a tournament or advancing in districts.”

With such an injury-ridden roster in 2018, the Eagles often had to plug and play younger players.

But despite all that, LaPratt said there were plenty of underclassmen who stepped up to help the team down the stretch. When a senior was out with an injury, it was sophomores Chloe Cole and Kira Buza who were able to play meaningful minutes.    

LaPratt mentioned another sophomore, Abbey Biermann, who was injured most of the season, as a player who will be able to help the team next season.

Among other standout players this season were sophomore Sydney Palazzolo and junior Lucy Kalaj.

There will be a few changes from this year to next for Ike. The team is set to lose only two seniors in captains Marissa Durand and Sam Palazzolo.

LaPratt hopes that her younger players gained valuable experience given all the accomplishments the team had this season.

“Having the younger kids on our team get to experience a league championship, play in close games, win, and having the whole gym come alive and rush the floor. That’s exciting, and those are things that we want to motivate them with. This is what you play for,” LaPratt said.

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