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Rochester Hills Stoney Creek volleyball ready for the challenge in the Red

ROCHESTER HILLS — Rochester Hills Stoney Creek volleyball has climbed the ranks of the Oakland Activities Association and now finds itself at the top with some of the best teams in the state in the Red Division.

Last season, the Cougars won the White, and the year before, Stoney Creek was tops in the Blue.

“They’re super excited,” coach Mandy Moran said during practice Sept. 14. “They’ve been in this program since we were in the Blue Division, then the White and now the Red. So they have a lot of high expectations for themselves.”

Senior captain Megan Feeley said it’s a chance for the team to prove itself against top competition.

“We’re a much better team than we’ve been in the past and ready to show everyone else,” Feeley said. “We work really hard in practice, and we’re ready to show that we belong in the Red Division. In just two years, look how far we’ve come.”

At press time, the Cougars were 12-4-3 overall and hadn’t played a division match yet. The first one is at 7 p.m. Oct. 3 against Lake Orion High at home.

Stoney Creek has three returning starters from last season’s championship team and welcomes a new head coach in Moran.

Though this is her first year leading the program, she’s been with the Cougars as the JV coach the last two seasons and the freshmen coach the year prior.

“We’re really happy to have a familiar face,” senior captain Morgan Darin said.

“She knows us and moved up with us, so we’ve all worked together, so it’s important to everybody,” Feeley added.

Moran said the offense and defense she runs is familiar to the girls.

“They’re comfortable with it,” Moran said. “So we’re all kind of on the same page. Not a whole lot has switched up.”

On defense, she said she likes to see her players being scrappy and getting touches. On offense, she’s looking for her team to play smart and “go where the defense isn’t, opposed to just pounding the ball.”

“Even though the season has only been (going) a month or so, I think we’ve come a long way, especially with how the girls are interacting with each other,” Moran said. “Every game, we seem to improve our skills.”

The Cougars’ goal is to stay in the Red (the bottom two teams move to the White the next season), and ultimately, win their new division, like they’ve come accustomed to the last two years.

“We’re in the top division this year,” Darin said. “This is what we’ve worked for.”