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St. Clair Shores

September 25, 2013

Lake Shore volleyball sets sights on league and district crowns

By Jason Carmel Davis
C & G Sports Writer

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The St. Clair Shores Lake Shore volleyball team hopes its senior leaders carry the squad to more wins. Pictured is senior middle hitter Lauren George, right, and senior outside hitter Carly Vargo, center, during an early season match with East Detroit.

ST. CLAIR SHORES — At press time, the St. Clair Shores Lake Shore volleyball team had already matched its win total from all of last season.

The Shorians are 9-3-1, 1-0-0 Macomb Area Conference Gold Division. They finished the 2012 campaign with a 9-7-0, 4-6-0 record.

“We’ve got a lot of seniors who really love to play the game, and their play is the reason for the strong start,” Shorians coach Margaret Kwapisz said. “All of my seniors are really good athletes. It seems like they’re jelling. It’s a good group of girls. Hopefully, we get better each game.”

Two of those seniors — libero Mackenzie Alvae and outside hitter Carly Vargo — serve as captains.

Alvae agreed with her coach that the team is playing well thus far. The senior said the group is coming together, aided by playing in several early season tournaments.

“I think that with our skills and what we’ve been working and improving on, that we’ll play well all season,” Alvae said.

Kwapisz said the team has set a goal of winning the MAC Gold and playing well in the 2013 Michigan High School Athletic Association district title. A league title would be the first for the program since 2009. Lake Shore hasn’t captured a district title since 2004.

Kwapisz said her team must find consistency if it wants to achieve those goals. She said the Shorians have a tendency to start matches slowly, which leads to playing a lot of five-game matches.

“We have to keep them up and playing their game,” the Lake Shore coach said. “Sometimes, they’ll play down or get down and them come back and win the next game. So we’re really trying to work on consistency.

“We were at a tournament at Roseville playing a lot of bigger teams — Rochester High and Rochester Adams — and we were keeping up with them, and we beat (Warren) Regina for the first time in years. So I’m just hoping we can keep that intensity together.”

One on-court area Kwapisz does think the team must improve on is blocking. Kwapisz has three players who are at least 5-feet-11, but she said at times it seems like the team isn’t getting the number of blocks it should. Kwapisz said she brought in Lake Shore’s freshman and JV coaches to help with the blocking.

“The blocking is getting better,” Vargo said. “We were in a tournament a couple of weeks ago and we were blocking like crazy, and that was the first time we did it really well.”

“A lot of the girls who play basketball, they’re getting up a lot better, and blocking shots left and right,” Alvae said.

Along with setting goals of winning league and district titles, Kwapisz said she wants her team’s winning streak in the annual War in the Shores tournament to continue. War in the Shores features the Lake Shore, Lakeview and South Lake teams in a series of matches to crown a city champion. The Shorians have won the tournament the last four years.

“There will be a lot of pressure there,” Kwapisz said.

Vargo and Alvae said the sky’s the limit for the team if the group keeps its focus. Moral support during games is key, too, Vargo said. The senior also said putting up a banner would be great for this group.

“It’d be amazing for us to (win a division title) because it’s our senior year,” Vargo said, “so to finally be able to do that, that would be special.”

The Lake Shore volleyball team next hits the court for a bout against Clawson High, set for 6 p.m. Sept. 26 at Lake Shore.

The Shorians will also play Roseville High in a cancer awareness game, set for 6 p.m. Oct. 1 at Roseville.