The Alpena Community College volleyball team (0-6, 0-2 Eastern Conference) hosts the St. Clair Skippers (4-2, 0-0) today at noon and 2 pm.
The Lumberjacks have yet to pick up a win this season, but hope to change that with an aggressive attack against an aggressive team.
"St. Clair always brings the intensity. I hate to use the word, but they're kind of scrappy. They throw themselves at the ball in every volley. They are always a very difficult match, but not impossible. I'm basically expecting a lot of long volleys in every game of every match," ACC co-head coach John Dietlin said.
Dietlin is currently in his third year as the ACC volleyball coach and was a former volleyball coach in Posen. St. Clair is coached by Chuck Weisner, a ninth year coach.
St. Clair's core players include sophomores Katie Bearse, Heather Griff and freshmen Monica David and Jenna Gauthier. Bearse, a team captain, picked up 48 kills and 13 blocks at last weekend's Owen's Invitational. Griffs had 38 kills, while David had 36 and Gauthier had 22.
These kinds of stats indicate a team that knows how to bring the heat. Dietlin and his players have a plan to counteract the Skippers attack.
"They're very aggressive at the net and they tend to attack down the center. We're going to double and triple team there and force them to play to the side, to our center specialist. That'll help us break up their momentum and attack, force them to pass and give us the chance to set up our own attacks," Dietlin said.
The Lumberjacks have five sophomores this year, including Courtney Holmes of Alpena, Amanda Williams of Cheboygan, Brittany Bell of Traverse City, Danielle Krupp of Mio and Whitney Frazier of Brimley.
These sophomores should be able to bring solid, well-seasoned play against the Skippers. Holmes, ACC's libero, should be able to counteract defensively against St. Clair's aggressive spike-based attack style. Freshman defensive specialist Emily Goyner should also help defensive support as well.
The Lumberjacks also have a talented group of freshman, several of whom are among ACC's attack specialists.
"Offensively I'm expecting Paige Vallier, Sandy Bischoff, Karley Pearsall and Whitney Frazier to be the main attack force. They have been some of our most effective offensive players this year," Dietlin said.
ACC's next match is on Sept. 14 at Oakland. The Lumberjacks return home on Sept. 20 and 21 against Lawrence Tech.
Eric Benac can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5690. Follow Eric on Twitter @EricBenac.