Doubek returns to lead Wildcats in 2019 season

Ever since she started Alpena High School’s club volleyball team in the early 1990s, Melissa Doubek has had an important role in the growth of Alpena’s volleyball program.

Her knowledge of the game and love of coaching has led her back to a familiar role as she returns to lead Alpena’s varsity team for the 2019 season.

Doubek was Alpena’s coach during its first varsity season in 1993 and led the Wildcats nearly every season until 2015. She briefly returned to coach the Wildcats during the 2017 playoffs and said she’s happy to be back leading the program.

“I’ve always loved coaching and I’ve got a group of girls here who are working hard for me and for each other,” Doubek said. “They’re appreciating that I’m pushing them. I’ve got a certain level of expectation and they’re living up to that.”

Doubek’s expectations aren’t unfounded. The Wildcats return seven players from last year’s team and welcome three JV call-ups and one call-up from last season’s freshmen team.

Up front, senior setter Macy Dickinson has big shoes to fill. Dickinson played on Alpena’s JV team last year and steps to into the vacant role left by the graduation of Allison Precord.

With Alpena’s offense running through her, Dickinson has performed well while setting up shots for Alpena’s experienced front row hitters.

“She’s rock solid. Just her movements off the net and the pivots she was making were incredible,” Doubek said of Dickinson after Alpena’s annual quad tournament. “She’s a strong server too.”

Alpena’s experience up front includes senior Edie Zann and juniors Allie DeRocher, Kate Skiba and Jade Gray. Between Zann’s height and hitting power, DeRocher’s all-around abilities and Skiba’s talent at hitting the ball down the line, the Wildcats should be able to attack from a variety of angles.

Gray recently returned to the lineup and is still recovering from a knee injury and senior Emma Dockrill could return to the lineup at some point as well.

Newcomers include senior outside hitter Maddy Saddler and sophomore outside hitter Kami Schultz, who has already shown a knack for improvement and has plenty of athletic ability.

On defense, Alpena returns seniors Mackenzie Precord–who will anchor the defense as the team’s libero–and Aubree Sheldon. They’ll be joined by senior Meghan Roznowski, who played on Alpena’s JV team last season.

Added all together, this gives the Wildcats an experienced and athletic roster that should challenge their Big North Conference rivals. Doubek told her team as much during a recent team meeting where her message to her team was short and to the point: you are talented, so take ownership on the court.

“We’ll learn a lot of great lessons and build character in our young ladies. It should be an exciting year,” Doubek said when her hiring was announced in July. “(With our returning experience), we can take it to the next level.”