Volleyball

Published October 3, 2017

FARMINGTON — Look at the league record.

Simple as that.

That’s all it takes to assess the improvement from last year to this year for the Farmington High volleyball team.

That was the blatant point that coach Katherine Drews made recently when speaking about her team and the 2017 season thus far.

In 2016, the Falcons finished at 1-6 in the Oakland Activities Association Blue Division.

“Not great,” Drews said.

At press time this fall, the team was 3-0.

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Published October 2, 2017

BLOOMFIELD HILLS — When Lauren Duquette assumed the head coaching position with the Bloomfield Hills Marian volleyball program, she was well-aware of the upside.

She also understood the challenges.

After all, this was a team that had reached the Class A quarterfinals in 2016 but had graduated more than half of its starting lineup.

On top of that, Duquette admitted that she came in ready to essentially reset the approach of the entire program.

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Published September 27, 2017

STERLING HEIGHTS — This year’s edition of the Sterling Heights Stevenson volleyball team is youthful and inexperienced.

Coach Paul Drdul said the growing pains have been evident.

“They’ve done well against unranked opponents,” Drdul said, “but when we’ve played ranked teams, we have not done well. We have a lot of new players and young players who are learning what it takes to beat really good teams.”

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Published September 25, 2017

FARMINGTON HILLS — Maybe this will be the key that starts the engine of consistency.

That’s the hope Farmington Hills Harrison volleyball coach Michael Love has, anyway.

Battling through the ups and downs of the 2017 campaign, Love took his squad to the Sept. 19 city championship event looking for a spark.

And the Hawks went out and found it. Or earned it, if you will.

“This is four in a row now for us,” Love said of the title. “Hopefully this is what we need to get going.”

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Published September 25, 2017

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Last season, the Utica Eisenhower volleyball team was promoted to the Macomb Area Conference Red Division. This was brought on after four straight division titles in the league’s lower levels.

Despite playing in the MAC’s top flight, the Eagles kept the streak alive, winning a fifth straight division crown behind a 9-1 mark in the Red and posting a 42-10-1 overall record. Eisenhower coach Caitlin Maloney hopes the 2017 campaign will continue her club’s winning ways.

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Published September 22, 2017

HARRISON TOWNSHIP — In her first year leading the team, Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse volleyball coach Jessica Marinec has set some lofty goals for her team.

“We want to win a district title and get as far (in the playoffs) as we possibly can,” said Marinec, who also teaches math at the school. “Overall, we want to work to get better so that eventually we’re back in the (Macomb Area Conference) Red Division.”

For now, the Lancers play in the MAC White.

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Published September 19, 2017

FARMINGTON HILLS — There was an understanding that this team had potential when the season officially launched.

That potential has given way to a proven winner. So far, anyway.

The Farmington Hills Mercy volleyball team reached the Class A regional finals a year ago before falling to eventual state champ Novi High.

When this season began, eight varsity veterans were back in the mix. When this season began, the Marlins hit the ground running.

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Published September 13, 2017

MACOMB — Last year, the Macomb L’Anse Creuse North volleyball team saw its season end with a district semifinal defeat to Macomb Dakota.

Less than a week into the 2017 campaign, the Crusaders were able to exact revenge on the Cougars, topping the local rival twice in a tournament. LCN won both matches in the annual Macomb Area Conference Kickoff Opener Aug. 18 at Dakota.

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Published September 12, 2017

Grosse Pointe South volleyball coach Kevin Nugent has become pretty familiar with what a winning team looks like.

South has won four Class A district championships in the last five years and one regional title, which the program captured in 2014.

Whether or not South has another successful playoff run could depend on how some of the team’s more inexperienced players develop during the course of the season.

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Published August 31, 2017

C&G Newspapers

MACOMB COUNTY — “I think the Macomb Area Conference has grown into one of the top conferences in the state during my 10 years at (Sterling Heights Stevenson).”

Those are the sentiments of Titans volleyball coach Paul Drdul, who last fall guided his team to a Class A district title and a spot in a regional final.

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Published August 28, 2017

Musician Tom Petty sang that “the waiting is the hardest part,” and for three seasons, that is what Madison Heights Lamphere’s volleyball program did.

From 2013 to 2015, the Rams finished second in the Macomb Area Conference Silver Division to St. Clair Shores Lakeview, finishing one match back in one of those seasons and two in the others.

Last year, with its antagonist (Lakeview) having moved to another division, Lamphere made its way to the top, as the program shared a MAC Silver championship with Roseville High.

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Published August 25, 2017

ST. CLAIR SHORES — The St. Clair Shores Lakeview volleyball team is young, but coach Tom Pfiefer won’t use that as an excuse for the squad to not be competitive this season.

The Huskies, who went 26-15-3 last season, have three freshmen on varsity for the first time in a long time, Pfiefer said. He called the trio — Kathryn Dozek, Tricia Sankiewicz and Ariana Wlodeck — extremely talented and said he’s impressed with how they’ve quickly acclimated to varsity volleyball.

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Published May 2, 2017

Berkley High senior Paige Allen recently signed a letter of intent to play volleyball at the collegiate level.

Allen will take her talents to Lake Erie College, which is an NCAA Division II program located in Ohio.

Allen — who expects to be a middle blocker at Lake Erie — appreciates the chance that is before her.

“It’s really special,” she said. “I know I’m going to get better, and I’m going to enjoy it. … Being able to live my dream is awesome.”

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Published January 31, 2017

During a standout volleyball career at Macomb Dakota, Carli Snyder faced a tough choice. She had many offers on the table to play in college, but was unsure about leaving the state of Michigan.

Ultimately, she chose an institution more than 1,000 miles away — the University of Florida. Now a junior, Snyder said she truly feels she belongs with the Gators.

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Published December 9, 2016

C&G Newspapers

OAKLAND COUNTY — Nets have been tucked away.

Kills, digs and spikes are reserved for next fall.

But before the 2016 volleyball season totally escapes us, coaches in the Oakland Activities Association have selected the top players from the fall season.

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Published December 1, 2016

C&G Newspapers

Another season has come and gone for the 36 volleyball teams in the Macomb Area Conference.

St. Clair Shores South Lake was the last MAC team standing, as the Cavaliers advanced all the way to the Class B state quarterfinals before falling to North Branch High 3-0.

The run to the quarters was the deepest in South Lake history.

The MAC has once again named MVPs, Coaches of the Year and Sportsmanship Award winners, in addition to All-League teams. Here’s a look at the honorees and final standings.

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Published November 29, 2016

On the south end of the Auburn Hills Oakland Christian gymnasium, dozens of framed pictures line the wall. Represented is every Michigan Independent Athletic Conference championship captured in school history, regardless of sport.

Priscilla Larned can be found in 13 plaques, each time smiling with a different roster of proud volleyball players. After helming the program for 32 seasons, the 2016 team photo will be added, a successful memento marking the end of her coaching career.

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Published November 15, 2016

CLAWSON — The North Branch High volleyball team is now two wins away from another state championship, advancing to the Class B state semifinals with a 3-0 win over St. Clair Shores South Lake in a state quarterfinal Nov. 15 at Clawson High.

The Broncos (56-9) take on the winner of a Buchanan High/Grant High in a state semifinal at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 17 at Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek, The Class B state title match is at 4 p.m. Nov. 19 in Battle Creek.

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Published November 15, 2016

TROY — Troy Athens volleyball saw its season come to a close with a 3-0 loss to Sterling Heights Stevenson on Nov. 8. The match opened the regional round of the playoffs, the second straight season the Red Hawks had reached that point.

“This just wasn’t our night,” Athens coach Christine Stanichuk said. “But our girls have no reason to hold their heads down. We had an awesome year. We were a win away tonight from getting further than any team in Athens history. I’m proud of those girls and how they battled all year.”

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Published November 14, 2016

METRO DETROIT — In the end, everything the Farmington Hills Mercy volleyball team threw at Novi High was answered, and answered in resounding fashion.

That’s how things went for the Marlins in their Nov. 10 Class A regional final against the top-ranked team in the state.

“Everything we tried, they were a little stronger,” coach Loretta Vogel said with a quick laugh. “No matter what we attempted, they were a little stronger.”

Novi, the defending champs in Class A, improved to 51-1 with the victory.

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