Lutheran North volleyball looks to outwork competition

By: Jason Carmel Davis | C&G Newspapers | Published August 28, 2019

 Macomb Lutheran North’s Kennedy Dolmage skies to  make a play Aug. 24 during the Dakota Volleyball Invitational. The Mustangs hope to capture their first Catholic High School League championship since 2015.

Macomb Lutheran North’s Kennedy Dolmage skies to make a play Aug. 24 during the Dakota Volleyball Invitational. The Mustangs hope to capture their first Catholic High School League championship since 2015.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Macomb Lutheran North volleyball coach Jessie Lancaster recognizes that her team lacks height and knows the squad will make up for that in other areas.

“Our girls are scrappy. They’re smart, and they know how to take care of the ball,” Lancaster said. “The girls are really on fire and excited for the season. We’ll let other teams make mistakes, because we know how to take care of the ball.

“Last year, I think we had more power hitters, but they could only hit off of the perfect set. The girls on this year’s team know how to hit a bad set. That’s important.”

Mustangs senior outside hitter Kennedy Dolmage, who was a Catholic High School League All-Catholic selection in 2018, said the team has had three-hour practices with a goal of being in peak physical condition.

Dolmage, who will play at Oakland University next season, said the workouts have been difficult, but they’ll pay off.

“They’re kicking our butts,” said Dolmage, a four-year varsity player. “We’re working really hard. We might not out-hit or out-jump a lot of teams, but we’ll out-scrap them.”

Lancaster called Dolmage the unquestioned leader of the team. One of three seniors on the North roster, along with four-year player Katie Petersdorf and Savannah Schwarzwalder, Dolmage is a dominant player, according to Lancaster.

“(Dolmage) has an amazing vertical. She’s played since she was 8 years old,” the coach said. “She’s really doing a good job of helping the younger girls and teaching them how to play the game.”

Dolmage has taken her leadership role in stride. The senior said the position forces her to stay on her game. She also noted that her older sister, Lauren, played at Oakland University.

“If I’m playing poorly, I have to pick it up to help everybody else out,” Dolmage said. “My sister coached me a lot. It’s fun to see the younger girls’ improvement and be a big sister for them.”

As a senior, Dolmage would like this season to be special. She and Lancaster both believe the Mustangs (2-2 at press time) have a chance to bring the program its first CHSL conference title since 2015. The team’s last district championship came in 2012.

“I think we’re on our way (to a conference title),” Lancaster said. “We made a lot of unforced errors last year. Our defense is better now, and the team is smarter.

“We have to work on our blocking, though. It’s a little rough for us right now. Where we don’t have height, we have to make up for it with positioning and timing.”

Dolmage would love to cap her prep career with a conference title.

“I’ve been on the team four years now, and we haven’t won it yet,” Dolmage said. “The last one the program won was my sister’s last year with the school. We really want to get the championship this year.”

Up next, North takes on Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes at 7 p.m. Sept. 4 on the road.

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