New Utica Ford II volleyball coach talking league title

By: Jason Carmel Davis | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published August 29, 2019

 Utica Ford II’s Alexis Strickland looks to set up a teammate Aug. 24 during the Warren Woods Tower Tour.

Utica Ford II’s Alexis Strickland looks to set up a teammate Aug. 24 during the Warren Woods Tower Tour.

Photo by Sarah Purlee

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STERLING HEIGHTS — First-year Utica Ford II volleyball coach Randy Schantz said his players have exhibited high volleyball IQs and have athleticism to go along with it.

The Falcons, 2-4 at press time, have two players who stand 6 feet tall and two others who are 5-foot-10.

“We’re going to be a strong attacking team,” said Schantz, who takes over a team that went 20-15-5 last season. “We’ve got girls who can go up and get the ball at any given time.

“We’re going to be tough, and we’re going to play defense. I think we have the potential to be pretty good.”

Ford opened the season Aug. 24 at the Warren Woods Tower Tour. The Falcons went 2-2 in the tournament, which was won by Warren Regina for the second straight year.

Schantz said playing in early-season tournaments is essential.

“It lets me see what everybody has to offer, and it lets me teach the players the offense too,” Schantz said.

That offense is a complex one, according to the coach. Schantz would like to show every opposing team something different each time the squad steps on the court.

Leading the attack is senior Bre Bayer, who led the team in kills in 2018. Seniors Kelly Bartlett and Antonia Nunnery are also expected to make major contributions this season.

“We don’t want to ever be too predictable,” Schantz said. “We want to add some deception to our attack.”

Schantz is hopeful that his approach pushes the team to the top of the Macomb Area Conference Blue Division. The Falcons finished third in the MAC Blue last season.

Ford’s last division title came in 2016. Fraser High has won the last two MAC Blue championships.

“I think we’ll compete for the top spot in our division,” Schantz said. “I expect us to be in that conversation.”

Up next, Ford takes on Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse at 7 p.m. Sept. 10 on the road.

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