The Alpena Community College volleyball team held a team orientation, practice and scrimmage game on Thursday to help get recently signed recruits acclimated to the school as well as entice a few potential recruits.
Five sophomores-to-be will return to the team this fall including Mandy Williams of Cheboygan, Brittany Bell of Traverse City, Danielle Krupp of Mio, Whitney Frazier of Brimley and Courtney Holmes of Alpena.
Six high school seniors have already signed including Emily Gonyer of Fife Lake, Tiffany Nickert of Johannesburg-Lewiston, Mary Myers of Boyne City, Karley Pearsall of Charlevoix and Paige Vallier of Bay City.
News Photo by Eric Benac
Abby Orlee of Hillman practices with the Alpena Community College volleyball team on Thursday at Park Arena. She is one of three area players the team is interested in signing. The other two are Carly Mitchell of Alcona and Hannah Huff of Johannesburg-Lewiston.
"We're looking good, we have some great new girls, they're looking good and they're meshing well with the girls from last year," ACC co-head coach Sarah Parsons said.
Parsons and co-head coach John Dietlin are also trying to get three local girls to sign with the team: Abby Olree of Hillman, Carly Mitchell of Alcona and Hannah Huff of Johannesburg-Lewiston.
Huff is an especially apt recruit as she helped Joburg win a district title, while Olree was named to the All-North Star League first team.
First, the new recruits needed to be shown around campus. Dietlin spent time talking to the potential recruits about their potential degrees, taking a few moments to figure out how their schedule would work with practice and making sure to emphasize school work as much as possible.
"We get the girls to come in and help them register and get them in and out, show them around campus, help them have a relaxing end to their high school careers and get them career conscious," Dietlin said.
After talking for a few moments, the girls stepped into their practice clothes and started warming up, going through a typical volleyball practice routine, including pairing up for serving, bumping and spiking practice as well as calisthenics.
A scrimmage game was held with some local male volleyball players to give the recruits a taste of college level competition and then a dinner was held to give the girls a chance to socialize and get to know each other.
This isn't the first time the girls have gotten together: they held a practice about a month ago to introduce the new recruits. However, this was the first time they have spent so much time together and Holmes was pleased with the new recruits.
"There was no conflict or anything. The new girls meshed together with us really well and I think they'll fit right in," Holmes said.
It's also a chance to find out if the recruits are compatible with the ACC volleyball system.
"We're working to get the best and most talented individuals in the system, but more importantly we want to make sure they mesh with our particular system. They could be the most talented volleyball player on Earth but if they don't mesh with us then we can't use them," Dietlin said.
Holmes believes the new recruits will help improve the Lumberjacks' success rate from last year.
"I think we got some serious potential to shock the conference," she said.