Lamphere volleyball coach looks back on strong season

By: Mark Vest | Madison - Park News | Published November 14, 2018

 Madison Heights Lamphere senior Brenna Murphy attempts to get the ball over the net during a district semifinal against Clawson High Nov. 1. Lamphere beat Clawson before going on to lose to Beverly Hills Detroit Country Day in a  district final.

Madison Heights Lamphere senior Brenna Murphy attempts to get the ball over the net during a district semifinal against Clawson High Nov. 1. Lamphere beat Clawson before going on to lose to Beverly Hills Detroit Country Day in a district final.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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MADISON HEIGHTS — Earlier this year, Madison Heights Lamphere volleyball coach Patty Waidknecht was clear about her team’s goal — go for the “three-peat.”

Mission accomplished.

Before their season ended with a 3-0 loss against Beverly Hills Detroit Country Day in a Division 2 district final Nov. 2, the Rams won the program’s third consecutive Macomb Area Conference Silver Division championship (Lamphere shared the MAC Silver title with Roseville High in 2016).

Including this year’s 10-0 run in the Silver Division, Lamphere is 29-1 in the division over the last three seasons.

“It’s pretty phenomenal,” Waidknecht said. “It’s quite a feat. It doesn’t happen too often. They pretty much dominated that league.”

For as good as things have gone for the Rams in the regular season in recent years, the playoffs have been a different story.

This was the seventh consecutive season that Lamphere has failed to make it past the district round of the playoffs.

In each of those years, the Rams’ season ended with a 3-0 loss against a team from a private school.

Waidknecht would prefer a more equitable approach for playoff draws.

“I can’t even approach somebody from another district,” she said. “They’re hand-picking their team. … We don’t hand-pick our team. We get what is in our district.”

Although Waidknecht would like to see public and private schools compete in separate playoff tournaments, she doesn’t know if that’s feasible based on numbers.

If not, she has another potential solution.

“I believe all private schools should have to take their population and multiply it by two or three, so that they have to go play with the bigger schools,” Waidknecht said.

Although Lamphere doesn’t always have the same on-court talent as some of its playoff opponents, there have been other perks for Waidknecht during her tenure as the Rams’ coach.

“Every year, I’m blessed,” she said. “We’re not only teammates, we’re families. We have team dinners once a week, the kids hang out, they go to homecoming together. It’s a great thing to watch my girls bond. … I very rarely have any issues, and that, I think, says a lot for the team, because those little issues is what can break a team. And we haven’t seemed to have those little issues.”

Brenna Murphy was the lone senior on Lamphere’s roster this year.

And although Waidknecht acknowledged that Murphy was a “very key part of my program,” there are other players who can help Lamphere attempt to compete for a fourth consecutive division championship next season.

“I had, I think, five juniors on my team this year,” Waidknecht said. “So, the program next year, I think we’re still (going to) be pretty good.”

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