Published November 19, 2013
L’Anse Creuse volleyball team wins district title, advances to regional final
By Jason Carmel Davis firstname.lastname@example.org Follow Jason on Twitter.
Last year, when the Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse volleyball team won a Michigan High School Athletic Association Class A district title, it came after the Lancers had a disappointing regular season.
This season’s district title, which L’Anse Creuse clinched in a 3-1 win over Sterling Heights High in a Class A district final played Nov. 7 at St. Clair Shores Lake Shore, comes as an addition to the hardware the Lancers have already picked up this season, as L’Anse Creuse also shared the Macomb Area Conference Red Division title with Macomb Dakota — the defending Class A state champions.
“It feels really good to win a second straight (district) title, especially with the season we had,” Lancers coach Derek Ledwidge said Nov. 13. “The girls will tell you that, last year, they had nothing to lose during districts because they were 0-10. This year, there was a little more pressure because of how good our season was.”
The Lancers, which met Romeo High in a Class A regional final after press time, had a mark of 31-15-2 at press time. The winner of the Romeo/L’Anse Creuse match faced the winner of a Clarkston/Bloomfield Hills Marian match in a Class A state quarterfinal after press time. The state semifinals and finals take place Nov. 21 and 23 at Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek.
To advance to the regional final, L’Anse Creuse knocked off Fraser High 3-1 in a regional semifinal played Nov. 12 at Sterling Heights Stevenson.
“I was a little nervous for (the Fraser) match because we have played Fraser so many times this year, and it is hard to beat the same team multiple times. Fraser also improved as the season went on, and it showed in our match,” Ledwidge said. “They made us earn every point, as they made very few errors.
“On the other hand, we played very sloppy. We had a lot of hitting errors that made the girls uneasy because that usually does not happen. I always tell them that winners always find a way to win. Even though it was ugly, the girls found a way to win in the end.”
Ledwidge said the team’s core group of seniors continues to lead the way during its playoff run. That group is made up of senior middle blocker Jaevyn Wortham, defensive specialist Olivia Martin, outside hitter Leah Rose, defensive specialist San DeLeeuw, setter Sam Pickett and outside hitter/middle blocker Natalie Courtright.
Wortham said Ledwidge, in his first year with the program, has taught the team to play beyond its abilities and leave everything on the court, along with teaching the girls where to place the ball on scoring chances.
For more coverage of the state volleyball playoffs, visit www.mhsaa.com.