Morley Stanwood Mohawks have their sights set on a 12th-straight CSAA volleyball title in 2014

MORLEY — The Morley Stanwood volleyball team captured an 11th-straight Central State Activities Association (CSAA) title last season before falling to Grand Rapids Covenant Christian in the regional championship, but this season the Mohawks and coach Robin Kozuch plan on picking up right where they left off.

“Our No. 1 goal will continue to be winning the conference and continuing the tradition we’ve put in place,” Kozuch said. “We actually got camp shirts this year that say ‘Tradition Never Graduates’ because we want to succeed regardless of who is here. Whoever we put on the floor we expect them to give it their all and play well so we can be successful.”

AT THE NET: Morley Stanwood’s Kayla Rosman (center) tries to spike the ball past a pair of McBain defenders during a nonconference match last season. The Mohawks are looking to claim the Central State Activities Association (CSAA) regular-season title for the 12th-straight season in 2014. (Pioneer file photos)

AT THE NET: Morley Stanwood’s Kayla Rosman (center) tries to spike the ball past a pair of McBain defenders during a nonconference match last season. The Mohawks are looking to claim the Central State Activities Association (CSAA) regular-season title for the 12th-straight season in 2014. (Pioneer file photos)

The Mohawks have the advantage of returning a number of talented players this year, including Mekayla Carey and Kayla Rosman, two of their leaders last season that were selected to the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) high school Phenom list as juniors after incredible 2013 campaigns, which earned them each a trip to the AVCA Phenom College Prep Program in Seattle where they participated in a number of drills and workouts in front of college coaches. Both Carey and Rosman also earned Michigan Interscholastic Volleyball Coaches Association (MIVCA) Class C first team All-State honors last season.

“I’m very excited (to have Kayla and Mekayla back) and I’m even more excited because the pressure is off this year now that they’ve both committed to play at Ferris State next year, so they can just focus on the prize at the end of the season,” Kozuch said. “There’s no added pressure, and while I don’t think that changed the way they played or anything, it’s just a bit of a relief to have that done.”

Rosman and Carey are just two of the big names for the Mohawks this season, but Kozuch also sees others returners, including senior Lindsey Veersma, as major parts of the squad.

“Our setter, Lindsey Veersma, was also all-state for us last year, and she’ll play a huge role for our team,” Kozuch said. “She touches the ball every time it comes over the net so she’ll be a major team leader and she’s been working on being a leader on the court and being a vocal leader.

“Cayla Patterson, a junior, is playing on the right side and she’s got a good block on the right and we also have Demi and Destiny Kuzee, they’re  twins who will be big for us,” she continued. “Demi is playing out mid for us and has been getting more consistent and Destiny is our backup setter and she’s coming along and she’s got great hands. They’re both working hard and will play key roles for us.”

Kozuch also mentioned that a majority of her players participated in volleyball this summer, including some playing for the Inside-Out volleyball club team.

“So many of these girls put in so much extra effort with playing club in the summer with Inside-Out, so a lot of our program’s success has to go to Matt, my husband, who is a coach there because he runs them through all the technical stuff so by the time they get to me I can focus more on the strategic aspects,” she said.

By working on their technique during the offseason, Kozuch said the Mohawks won’t have to worry as much about technical skills and will have more time to focus on playing together again after a long offseason.

“It’s going good…We have a lot of talented girls coming back so the expectations are very, very high this year,” she said. “Most of the girls have been playing club all summer, so the technique and the technical things are there, but now we have to get the experience back of playing together. They’ve pretty much all been playing club all summer, but they play on different teams, so getting back together and playing will be key.”

The Mohawks are back together at the Ferris State University volleyball camp this week before kicking off official tryouts on Aug. 13. as they look to retain their spot at the top of the CSAA.

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