Top of their game: Spikers ready to take on OAA red
September 07, 2011 - For varsity volleyball coach Kristi McDevitt, moving up to the Oakland Activities Association's red division, the top of the ladder, is the realization of a goal.
|Front Row L to R: Maggie Rourke, Alyssa Delong, Olivia Krause Middle Row L to R: Morgan Reynolds, Amanda Bauman, Julia Walker, Alyssa Wysocki, Lindsay Keenist, Andrea Taylor Back Row L to R: Maddy Line, Haylie Mince, Megean Neff, Coach Kristi McDevitt, Katie Bearse, Lindsey Leppek, Darien Bandel (click for larger version)|
"It's exactly where we want to be," McDevitt said. "The girls went ahead last year, got the job done and got us to where we want to be. And now, we have to make sure we are competitive enough to stay in the red."
"I'm hoping for a top five finish," McDevitt said.
The Wildcats will be facing Lake Orion, Clarkston, Rochester, Rochester Adams, Farmington, North Farmington, Birmingham Lahser and Birmingham Seaholm.
"I'm optimistic," McDevitt said. "We are going to just keep getting better and better and it's going to be a competitive year."
She added playing in the OAA white last year gave them a glimpse of how competitive the OAA can be.
"Our division was competitive last year, and that is why I was proud that we were able to come out on top," McDevitt said. "It's not like it was an uncompetitive division. They pushed us, but we are going up against some pretty big powerhouses."
"I'm hoping with the schedules that we have and the tournaments that we are going to that these girls get a little bit of a backbone to them...a little bit of hunger so when we go up against Clarkston and Lake Orion, we're not afraid," she said. "I want them to know they can beat anybody."
McDevitt has another senior laden team this year, as eight of the spots are filled by seniors.
According to McDevitt, seniors Maggie Rourke and Olivia Krause will be doing the DS/Libero duties. Senior Lindsey Leppek will be the team's middle hitter, while senior Aylssa Delong will patrol the outside and seniors Andrea Taylor and Amanda Bauman and Katie Bearse are going to set for the Wildcats.
Krause, Leppek and Bearse will also be the team captains this season. "Those three girls are pretty much on my floor all the time, so it is really good to have that leadership out there," she said. "They are all veterans too. They are all returning starters from last year."
McDevitt had high praise for all three of her captains.
"Katie just is an all-around great kid," McDevitt said. "She knows exactly what I want and tries her best not to upset (me). It's little things, putting balls away, making sure the nets are set up and things like that."
McDevitt added Leppek was the same way.
"They have been a part of this program for four years now and (the know) what is exactly expected of us and they go out there and do it attitude (and) wise leadership," McDevitt added.
She called Bearse the "social director of the group."
"(She) brings everyone together. She talks to everyone, hangs out with everyone," McDevitt added. "She is also pretty driven. If you put a goal in front of her, like raising money for jerseys, she is right on top of it."
The rest of her squad is a combination of "big hitters, great passing and great setting."
"It's just a matter of them putting it together and getting competitive," McDevitt said.
In addition to her three captains, McDevitt is counting on first year varsity player Maddy Line, who McDevitt describes as a strong athlete who is finding her groove on the outside.
Also seeing time this season will be sophomore Darien Bandel. "She is athletic and she has like a two-foot vertical," McDevitt said. "When that child hits the ball, there is no question at how good she is going to be."
McDevitt added the team is already focused on their goal and was already working really hard to accomplish.
"I haven't been disappointed with their work ethic or anything like that yet," she added.
Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.