Macomb L’Anse Creuse North volleyball coach Denise Sargent talks with her team Aug. 17 at the Macomb Area Conference tournament.

Macomb L’Anse Creuse North volleyball coach Denise Sargent talks with her team Aug. 17 at the Macomb Area Conference tournament.

Photo by Donna Agusti


LCN volleyball coach looks to continue program’s success

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published September 19, 2018

 Macomb L’Anse Creuse North volleyball players celebrate a point during an Aug. 17 match. The Crusaders’ next match is against Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse at 7 p.m. Sept. 20 at home.

Macomb L’Anse Creuse North volleyball players celebrate a point during an Aug. 17 match. The Crusaders’ next match is against Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse at 7 p.m. Sept. 20 at home.

Photo by Donna Agusti

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — The Macomb L’Anse Creuse North volleyball team started off the season with a bang, winning the annual Macomb Area Conference Kickoff Tournament. 

The Crusaders haven’t slowed down, either, according to coach Denise Sargent.

LCN went 5-1 at the kickoff tournament, which included four MAC Red Division teams. At press time, the Crusaders were 12-5 overall and 0-1 in the MAC White.

Sargent credited the experience of her players for the team’s success out of the gate. The coach also touted her staff, particularly varsity assistant Kristy Morrow and JV coach Denton Casier.

“Of course, I have an amazing group of girls who have the passion and talent to be champions,” Sargent said. 

That passion could come from the run of success the Crusaders have had over the last decade.

LCN has finished no lower than third in divisional play since 2007. Since the start of the 2008 season, the Crusaders have moved up two divisions — from the MAC Gold, to its current spot in the MAC White.

LCN also has championships to look back on. The program won five straight from 2011 to 2015. Last season, the Crusaders finished second in the MAC White.

Sargent hopes the team can start a new run of league championships.

“We understand the competition to be tough, but we are looking to hopefully take the division title,” Sargent said. “We are lucky that we have an administration and community that support us in building our program at all levels. We also have great depth on our bench, with players like junior setter Emily Langlois, junior right side/middle Morgan Freshney, and a real promising sophomore in Grace Schneider.”

Sargent also noted that this year’s team has a strong offensive front that allows LCN to utilize several hitters, including juniors Darienne Johnson, Leah Bieniewicz, Nicole Valentine and Jordan Media. 

The coach then mentioned that senior setters Amelia Dunnigan and Jessica Bruce are confident after not seeing much playing time last season; sophomore liberos Kelsey Starnes and Emma Bice have made a number of big defensive plays; senior Lauren Bayless is a strong blocker; and that senior Lauren Rhoney is a strong leader who motivates her teammates.

Sargent said that the team still needs to improve on maintaining a rally.

“Playing to win and not playing to not lose is big too,” the coach said. “We need to work on serving stronger and smarter.”

The goals are clear for this year’s team: compete for division and district titles. Sargent said LCN hasn’t raised a postseason title banner in some time.

“I truly believe in this team, and I am excited to see what we can do,” Sargent said. “If we maintain our focus and continue to work hard as at team, there is no limit to their success.”

The Crusaders’ next match is against Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse at 7 p.m. Sept. 20 at home.