Published November 7, 2017

District volleyball matches officially kicked off Oct. 30, and all three local teams were in action.

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Published November 1, 2017

The volleyball district round started Oct. 30, but for some teams, that first serve was delayed until the second round.

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Published October 16, 2017

SHELBY TOWNSHIP/UTICA — Less than 4 miles separate Utica High and Utica Eisenhower.

Fierce local foes, the Chieftains and Eagles clash routinely on the field, diamond, track and ice. That bitterness is also annually evident on the volleyball court, where the respective coaches carry out the rivalry — through sickness and in health.

Married in 2015, Jeff and Caitlin LaPratt find themselves on opposing sides. Caitlin is in the midst of her 11th year at the helm of the Ike program, while Jeff is in his eighth year guiding Utica.

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Published October 9, 2017

ST. CLAIR SHORES — Growing pains have played a factor for St. Clair Shores Lake Shore volleyball as it competes in the Macomb Area Conference Blue Division for a second straight year.

“It’s a tough division, but I feel like we are making progress as we get further into the season,” coach Margaret Kwapisz said. 

The Shorians have had to deal with inexperience issues throughout the year. The majority of the players are first-time varsity members.

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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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