Published September 2, 2015

UTICA — Utica High volleyball has steadily improved over the past three seasons, but now coach Jeff Lapratt wants that improvement to come with some hardware.

In his fifth year as head coach, Lapratt hopes to build on a 28-win season a year ago that saw Utica take second in the Macomb Area Conference (MAC) Blue Division.

“It’s progressing nicely, but we have not won anything yet, and that is the goal,” Lapratt said.

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Published September 1, 2015

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — The Macomb Dakota volleyball team lost six players to graduation, but coach Tracie Ferguson said several players are ready to step into expanded roles.

“We’re interesting this year,” said Ferguson, who is in her eighth year with the program. “We were really young last year. We have a lot of players back, and that helps a ton.”

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Published August 28, 2015

EASTPOINTE — East Detroit High volleyball coach Krysta Kreyger said her team is going to have to have strong intangibles if it is to have success in 2015.

“We’ve got to be a scrappy team,” said Kreyger, whose team went 14-12-1 overall and 6-4 Macomb Area Conference Silver Division in 2014.

Kreyger, who led the Shamrocks to a division title in 2013, said communication will be key to her team’s prospects. Players must talk to each other during games, making sure everyone is in the right spot to succeed.

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Published August 28, 2015

ST. CLAIR SHORES — St. Clair Shores Lakeview volleyball coach Tom Pfiefer said his team was frustrated after its 3-0 loss to Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse in a Class A district quarterfinal last fall.

The loss came after Pfiefer, who was in his first year back with the program in 2014, guided the Huskies to a 10-0 mark in the Macomb Area Conference Gold Division and a division title.

“We were frustrated after districts,” Pfiefer said Aug. 21. “We didn’t come out and do what we expected to do.”

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Published August 28, 2015

WARREN — The Warren Cousino volleyball team has come very close to raising some banners in recent years.

The team finished second to St. Clair Shores Lake Shore in the Macomb Area Conference Gold Division in 2014 and has played in two straight district finals.

Patriots players and coach Eric Zwierzchowski are ready to take that next step, and they believe this is the year it happens.

Junior outside hitter Jessica Tocco is confident in her team’s ability to get the job done.

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Published August 28, 2015

HARRISON TOWNSHIP — Derek Ledwidge is in his third year as head coach of the Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse volleyball team. Success came early for the coach, as he guided the Lancers to a Macomb Area Conference Red Division title in 2013.

Last year was a bit different. Inconsistency led to the Lancers going 18-18-1, including a 2-8 mark in the MAC Red.

This season, Ledwidge has seven returning players, which he said will help in terms of continuity. He’s stressing continuous improvement over the course of the season as a means to improve.

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Published August 27, 2015

MADISON HEIGHTS — The Madison Heights Bishop Foley volleyball team moves seamlessly from one drill to another.

First-year coach Megan Gignac gives the orders and directions Aug. 26, and within seconds the Ventures are pounding shots over the net.

It’s all part of Gignac’s plan to mold the Ventures into a squad that takes the action to its opponents.

“I don’t like them standing around too much, so I keep them going,” Gignac said with a smile. “I keep it fast-paced to keep them on their toes.”

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Published August 24, 2015

C&G Newspapers

WARREN — The defending Class A state volleyball champion added another title to its mantle as Romeo High downed Macomb Dakota 2-0 in the finals of the 2015 Macomb County Volleyball Coaches Association Kickoff Classic.

The tournament, featuring 18 teams, took place Aug. 21 at the Michigan Elite Volleyball Camp in Warren.

Romeo, which beat Novi High in November 3-2 to win its first state title, beat Grosse Pointe North last year to win the MCVCA title.

Romeo is 3-0 coming out of the tournament. Dakota sits at 5-2.

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Published August 19, 2015

The volleyball season is upon us, with the first date of competition starting Aug. 21.

When it comes to league play, the Oakland Activities Association has done some minor shuffling of its divisions.

Here’s a look at where each team ended up and which teams come in as the favorites.

Red Division

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Published April 14, 2015

C&G Newspapers

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Love at first sight doesn’t only apply to people and interpersonal relationships.

For Clinton Township Chippewa Valley senior Grace Cooke, it applies to her feelings once she set foot onto the campus of Colorado Springs-based Colorado College. Cooke, a member of the Chippewa Valley chapter of the National Honor Society with a 4.0 grade-point average, earned an academic scholarship to the private school. Cooke will play volleyball at the school, as well.

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Published November 13, 2013

GROSSE POINTES — Grosse Pointe North used a tremendous comeback in the second game to defeat its crosstown rival, Grosse Pointe South, in three games, 25-18, 26-24, 25-18, to win a district title on Thursday evening.

After winning the first game, North fell behind 22-11 in the second, but North’s Christa Raicevich sparked the comeback by hitting three aces and three kills during the rally.

A kill by South’s Elizabeth Murphy gave the Blue Devils a 24-22 lead, but North won the final four points to take a 2-0 advantage.

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Published November 6, 2013

East Detroit High volleyball coach Krysta Kreyger said she has tried to keep her team grounded this season and put an emphasis on not making any one match bigger than the next.

“We placed an individual importance on each match,” said Kreyger, in her first year as Shamrocks volleyball coach. “We weren’t just looking at how many matches we needed to win to win a division title. We’ve looked at each match as a must-win.”

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Published November 4, 2013

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — The Harrison Township L'Anse Creuse volleyball team began its quest for a second straight Michigan High School Athletic Association Class A district title with a 3-0 win over Roseville High in a 2013 MHSAA Class A district quarterfinal played Nov. 4 at St. Clair Shores Lake Shore.

The Lancers (29-7-2) advance to meet the host Shorians (21-8-4) in a district semifinal set for 5:30 p.m. Nov. 6 at Lake Shore.

L'Anse Creuse ramped up its play after the first game, which it won 25-20. The Lancers won game two 25-9 and game three 25-11.

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Published October 16, 2013

EASTPOINTE — With 11 wins at press time — and a few weeks remaining in the 2013 regular season — the East Detroit High volleyball team had already surpassed last year’s win total of seven.

The Shamrocks sat at 11-7 at press time, including an unblemished 5-0 record in the Macomb Area Conference Bronze Division, good for first place.

East Detroit junior outside hitter and captain Victoria Grimes, in her third year with the team, said it’s great to experience some success with the team.

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Published October 2, 2013

FARMINGTON — In his second year as head volleyball coach at Farmington High, Michael Scott likes what he’s seeing.

“They’re learning to win. We’ve done some nice things, but we have a ways to go,” he said. “The talent on the team, as a staff, we think it’s pretty good.”

At press time, the Falcons were 9-4-3 overall and hadn’t played a match in the Oakland Activities Association White Division.

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Published October 2, 2013

DETROIT — Wayne State University volleyball coach Phil Nickel is hoping to take the program somewhere it hasn’t been since 1994 — to the NCAA tournament.

And while it is possible to make it there without winning a conference championship, the only sure way for the Warriors to make the Division II national tournament in December is via coming away from the season as the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) champs.

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Published September 25, 2013

FERNDALE — It’s a timed drill that the Ferndale High volleyball team has done since the beginning of the season.

The Eagles line up and have to execute 50 passes and then 50 sets, all while the stopwatch ticks away.

In the beginning of the year, Ferndale finished in more than 12 minutes. On Sept. 18 at practice, the Eagles cut the time in half, finishing in 6:12.

“That’s really good for us,” coach Stacy Schock said.

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Published September 25, 2013

North Farmington High volleyball coach Jessica Condeni knows that it’s not how you start the season, but how you finish that matters.

“With tournaments, at the end of the day, they really don’t mean anything. They are there for us to get better. We just have to stay positive and continue to get better, and we will — we’ll do that,” Condeni said as practice began Sept. 17. “Every day, they get better and they work very hard. They’re not intimidated by anything.”

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Published September 4, 2013

EASTPOINTE — First-year East Detroit High volleyball coach Krysta Kreyger said the players on the Shamrocks’ squad so far have shown they’re eager to learn and want to get better each time on the court.

Kreyger, who also coaches East Detroit’s girls basketball team, said their efforts are starting to show and that the team is starting to get noticeably better in different areas.

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Published November 2, 2012

C&G Newspapers

WARREN — Warren Fitzgerald’s remarkable season continued Nov. 2, as the Spartans defeated Hazel Park 3-1 in a Class B district final matchup, capturing the first district championship in the history of the volleyball program.


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