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Spikers possess extreme depth, talent

'Any one of our girls would be starting on a lot of other varsity teams'

Senior Rebecca Sylvain watches senior Sophie Murdock wind up to spike a ball. Photo by G. Ouzounian (click for larger version)
September 12, 2012 - Finding a starting lineup is important for any sport, but what's a coach to do when his entire team is worthy of a starting position?

This is the problem Volleyball Head Coach Ross Talbott has encountered with the state championship runner-up varsity volleyball team. The team is so deep, he has yet to come up with a lineup, which for him is a cursed advantage.

"We're growing, looking at line ups and learning a lot as we play," he said. "We still have a long way to go, but we have 16 players that are very, very good. Any one of our girls would be starting on a lot of other varsity teams."

The team played in the Lake Orion Tournament over the weekend and won all but two matches - one against Dakota in the playoffs for the championship. The Dragons managed to crush Eisenhower (25-20, 25-12) and Oxford (25-15,26-13) and soundly defeated Midland (25-23, 25-20) and Marian (26-24, 25-17). The first match against Stoney Creek (19-25, 23-25) and the last against Dakota (16-25, 22-25) was the Dragon's downfall.

According to Talbott, the problem lies with the team's ability to execute plays on their side of the net. Another issue includes the current lack of a starting middle since senior Emilie Kipp fractured her ankle two weeks ago.

Still the team has the players to make up for the deficit and a number have become rising stars to Talbott.

"(Junior) Hannah Suciu hadn't played yet due to a knee injury but she got some play time against Oxford and went four for four on kills," he said. "She had to sit out for tryouts but she's really talented - everyone is really talented. It can be frustrating for the other teammates because most of our girls who are not on the floor right now would be starting on 90 percent of the other varsity teams and they're having to sit sometimes."

Talbott also mentioned senior Gabrielle Kalugar and the team's three captains: seniors Sophie Murdock, Rachel Livingway and Rebecca Sylvain. Kalugar led the team in aces and digs while Murdock had a 39 percent hitting average and 6.5 blocks. Sylvain accounted for 75 assists while junior Tess Marshall scored 33 kills.

With the tournament done, the team is now concentrating on the beginning of their season - a Thursday night away game against the Highlanders of Rochester Adams at 5:30 p.m. Talbott said he hopes to use the opener as a means to prove his team can play well.

"We're looking at a lot of good things, but we have a long way to go," he said. "Clarkston is looking pretty good so we have to get to where we need to be if we're going to win the OAA Red title this year."

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