Movement in the MAC

L’Anse Creuse volleyball moves from Red Division to White, seeks solid campaign

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published August 26, 2016

 Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse volleyball moves to the Macomb Area Conference White Division from the MAC Red this season. The Lancers had played in the MAC Red since 2002, winning titles in 2009 and 2013. Pictured is senior middle hitter Laura Ashman in  the Aug. 19 Macomb County Volleyball Kickoff Tournament.

Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse volleyball moves to the Macomb Area Conference White Division from the MAC Red this season. The Lancers had played in the MAC Red since 2002, winning titles in 2009 and 2013. Pictured is senior middle hitter Laura Ashman in the Aug. 19 Macomb County Volleyball Kickoff Tournament.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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HARRISON TOWNSHIP — This fall marks the first time that the Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse volleyball team will play in a division other than the Macomb Area Conference Red Division since 2002, and fourth-year Lancers coach Derek Ledwidge thinks the move could be good for his team.

“Last year we were in a lot of games, but we couldn’t finish them out to pick up wins because we weren’t strong enough mentally,” said Ledwidge, whose team went 17-25 overall and 1-9 in the Red last season.

“With the move to the MAC White, I think we’ll be able to instill a little more confidence in the players while still playing some really good teams,” the coach continued. “We want to win too. We want to be able to put a team out on the court that goes into matches thinking it should win.”

The Lancers, 0-2 at press time, had their share of success in the MAC Red. The team won division titles in 2009 and 2013. L’Anse Creuse’s last district title came in 2013 as well.

The Lancers’ competition in the MAC White consists of Sterling Heights Stevenson, Clinton Township Chippewa Valley, Grosse Pointe South, Macomb L’Anse Creuse North and Port Huron Northern.

Ledwidge said he believes Stevenson is the class of the division. At this point, Ledwidge feels his team is in the middle of the pack.

“We’re hoping that changes as the season goes along,” Ledwidge said. “We want to move into the top tier of the league.”

Senior co-captains Olivia Thompson and Sam Hoeldtke want to end their prep careers on a strong note. The seniors, two of seven on the team, said the squad must keep its focus for the duration of the matches if it wants to have success.

“We can’t just get up for one game or two games,” said Thompson, who is in her second year as a varsity player. “We have to keep our intensity for an entire match. If we want to have a good year like we all say we do, we’ve got to work for it.”

Ledwidge said ball control and middle hitters are the team’s strengths. He said being able to score off of long rallies as opposed to quick strikes would likely benefit the team, though he added that the team’s outside hitters must improve.

For Hoeldtke, who is in her third year as a varsity player, she believes experience will aid the squad.

“The last couple of years, we’ve had pretty young teams, and I think that’s why we’ve struggled some,” she said. “Having more seniors in the lineup should help us out a lot and give us more confidence knowing we’ve got experienced players on the floor.”

Hoeldtke and Thompson understand that this is their last go-round as varsity players, and they have a vision of how they want it to end.

“We want to win another district title,” Thompson said. “We want to do it for ourselves, but we want it for (Ledwidge) too, because of all the time he puts in working with us. Hopefully, we can put a great year together.”

Up next, the Lancers play Sterling Heights High at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 8 at Sterling Heights.

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