Macomb L’Anse Creuse North’s Emily Langlois, left, looks to set up a teammate while Kayley Ulbrik looks on during an Oct. 15 win over Fraser High. The Crusaders finished 10-0 in divisional play to win the Macomb Area Conference White Division championship.

Macomb L’Anse Creuse North’s Emily Langlois, left, looks to set up a teammate while Kayley Ulbrik looks on during an Oct. 15 win over Fraser High. The Crusaders finished 10-0 in divisional play to win the Macomb Area Conference White Division championship.

Photo by Sarah Purlee


LCN volleyball wins MAC White title

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published October 30, 2019

 Macomb L’Anse Creuse North’s Kelsey Starnes lays out to make a play against Fraser High. The Crusaders have won six division titles since 2011.

Macomb L’Anse Creuse North’s Kelsey Starnes lays out to make a play against Fraser High. The Crusaders have won six division titles since 2011.

Photo by Sarah Purlee

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — It’s been quite the successful decade for the Macomb L’Anse Creuse North volleyball program.

Since the start of the 2011 season, the Crusaders have averaged 24.1 wins a season. The team at one point won division championships in five straight years across two divisions (Macomb Area Conference Gold and Blue).

LCN moved to the MAC White in 2016 and has faced somewhat of an uphill climb since. The team finished third in the league in 2016 and 2017, before taking second last season.

This season, though, the Crusaders are second to no one.

The team finished 10-0 in the MAC White to claim another division title. At press time, the squad was 35-4 overall. The 35 wins are the most for the team in one season on its current run.

Crusaders coach Denise Sargent said continuity is a big reason for this year’s success. Each player in the starting lineup has at least three years of varsity experience.

“These girls ... have a special bond that I can’t explain,” Sargent said. “All I know is that it’s great to see them support each other on and off the court. They’re like a family.

“We take every game seriously, as we know on any given day, any given team can beat us. We’ve been working on playing consistently no matter what the competition might be. The game of volleyball always has the momentum factor, which can be devastating if you do not have a way to keep the momentum on your side of the court or to regain the momentum if you lose it.”

Sargent said three senior captains — Darienne Johnson, Kelsey Starnes and Leah Bieniewicz — have paced the team. The Crusaders coach said the trio has done a great job of motivating teammates and leading by example.

LCN has made quick work of many of its foes this season.

Most of its MAC White wins came in three games and none have gone five.

That doesn’t mean the team is a finished product.

“We need to continue to be consistent in our skills, especially serving and serve-receive, and we need to be able to remain positive in pressure situations,” Sargent said. “We need to keep sight of our goals and do whatever it takes to reach them.”

Along with the division title, LCN wants to add a district title to its trophy case. The Crusaders host a Division 1 district tournament, which runs Nov. 4-8. LCN opens against Port Huron Northern at 6 p.m. Nov. 4. The winner meets Port Huron High in a semifinal at 7 p.m. Nov. 6. The other half of the bracket sees New Baltimore Anchor Bay and Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse meeting in a semifinal at 5 p.m. Nov. 6. The district final in the LCN grouping takes place at 6 p.m. Nov. 8.

Sargent said she and her players are excited to host a district tournament. She said the program’s fans are a big factor in its success and that it would be great to win a postseason championship in front of them.

“Our program has been very successful moving from the MAC Gold to MAC White,” Sargent said. “It would be great to have a district title to add to our success.”

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