South Lake volleyball focused on playoffs

By: Jason Carmel Davis | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published October 4, 2019

 St. Clair Shores South Lake volleyball coach Chris Blair cheers on his team during a Sept. 26 match. The Cavaliers’ next match is against Madison Heights Lamphere at 6 p.m. Oct. 15 at home.

St. Clair Shores South Lake volleyball coach Chris Blair cheers on his team during a Sept. 26 match. The Cavaliers’ next match is against Madison Heights Lamphere at 6 p.m. Oct. 15 at home.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

Advertisement

ST. CLAIR SHORES — The St. Clair Shores South Lake volleyball team has struggled thus far this season, but it’s in the playoffs where the Cavaliers have proven their worth in recent years.

Coach Chris Blair hopes the team can experience more postseason success in 2019.

At press time, South Lake was 6-24 overall and sat near the bottom of the Macomb Area Conference Bronze Division.

Blair is working with a young team. The Cavaliers roster comprises one freshman, five sophomores, two juniors and four seniors. The team lost seven players from last year’s group that advanced to the Division 2 regional round for the third straight season.

Blair noted that many of his younger players were taught the proper mechanics at the JV level by coach Bethany Wieske, but there’s still an adjustment to varsity volleyball.

“We have a lot of players playing tough opponents in fast-paced games, which they’re not used to,” Blair said.

The state playoffs begin Nov. 4. South Lake will play in a district with Harper Woods Chandler Park Academy, Detroit Denby, Harper Woods High and Detroit University Prep Academy for Science and Math. Times, dates and matchups were not available at press time.

Blair is accustomed to prepping teams for the “win or go home” environment. That’s no different this season.

“We’re working on attacking the ball, perimeter defense and what alternative shot making we can do until (the players) get used to the faster tempo of the sport,” said Blair, who led the program to a regional championship in 2016. “As we move forward this season, if we want to make any type of postseason run, our outside hitting has to improve.”

Blair noted that the team has shown flashes of how well it can play. The team’s service rate is at 93%. The front row blocks well, and the team has strong middle hitters in senior Anyah McClain and sophomore Brooklyn Giroux.

Sophomore setters Ava Korzeniewski and Ania Miller have impressed with their decision making, according to the coach. McClain and senior Mya Perron, who have extensive postseason experience, have worked to bring the younger players along.

“Hopefully their experience and mental toughness can give them that little extra intangible to lead the Cavaliers when (playoff time) gets here,” Blair said. “Win or lose, they’re having fun and learning some valuable life skills.”

South Lake’s next match is against Madison Heights Lamphere at 6 p.m. Oct. 15 at home.

Advertisement