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Becoming Lumberjacks

Local players ink volleyball LOIs with ACC

News Photo by James Andersen Several local volleyball players signed their letters of intent to join the Alpena Community College volleyball team on Sunday. Pictured left to right are: back row: ACC head coach Sarah Parsons, Alex Villarreal, Allison Precord, Jessica Leeck, Brooke Jones and assistant coach Craig Gerow; front row: returning players Alexis Mutschler and Jozie Appelgren and Emilee Noffze. Not pictured is Maddie Hincka.

The Alpena Community College got a big influx of local talent on Sunday after more than a half dozen local players all inked their letters of intent to play volleyball with the Lumberjacks next season.

Those that sized their letters of intent included: Maddie Hincka (Rogers City), Alex Villarreal (Alpena), Allison Precord (Alpena), Jessica Leeck (Alpena), Brooke Jones (Hillman) and Emilee Noffze (Hillman).

The new players will join sophomore returners Shelby Seaver (Alpena), Taylor Livingston (Alcona), Jozie Appelgren (Hillman) and Alexis Mutschler (Hillman).

Last year’s class of players, which included Seaver and Livingston, was focused on providing the Lumberjacks with more height. This year’s group, which includes a new setter, will help coach Sarah Parsons fill out her lineup around her quartet of returners.

“They all actually kind of know each other, being from small towns (and) being from the (Alpena area). I have a little bit of height that’s coming on, I have good passers and everyone’s communicating well in these open gyms. I’m looking for a good season,” Parsons said. “I think we’re just going to be a good group together.”

Half of Sunday’s group of signees played on district championship teams last season. Hincka was part of a Rogers City team that won a district title last fall and made a run to the state semifinals in 2017. Jones and Noffze were part of a Hillman squad that ended a nine-year drought by winning a district title this past season. All three earned either first or second team all-North Star League honors last season.

Official practices for ACC won’t begin until the fall, but until then players will work on developing their chemistry and timing at open gyms held at Park Arena. Parsons also gives players a workout program for players to work on over the summer that includes volleyball drills, conditioning work and workouts designed to improve each player’s vertical.

“Knowing each other’s skill before the season starts (is important),” Parsons said. “It’s hard that first week of practice if you’re just starting out and you have to read each other.”