Volleyball

Rebecka Poljan moves out from brother’s shadow on VB court

Lansing Catholic junior Rebecka Poljan.

Lansing Catholic junior Rebecka Poljan.

Even with her brother now living over an hour’s drive away, Rebecka Poljan still gets frequent reminders about the legacy he left at Lansing Catholic High School.

Poljan, the younger sister of Central Michigan freshman quarterback Tony Poljan, sees his Gatorade State Football Player of the Year banner every time she works out at her local gym. Her older brother was a basketball and football standout and was named the State Journal’s male athlete of the year last spring.

There’s always been friendly trash talk between the two siblings. Rebecka Poljan sees it all as motivation.

“He came before me and has cast a huge shadow,” Rebecka Poljan said. “Obviously, Tony has done a lot of great things, and I look up to him.

“Our family is very competitive. I want to beat him in everything. Once, he said, ‘Yeah, I was all-state freshman year. What are you doing?'”

Over the past two years, Rebecka Poljan, a junior three-sport athlete (volleyball, softball and basketball), has carved out her own reputation on the volleyball court, and has an opportunity to help the Cougars capture their second league title in school history.

Last year, the 6-foot-2 Rebecka Poljan, who verbally committed to Michigan State last spring, was a part of the Lansing Catholic team that went 10-0 in the CAAC White, won its first-ever league title and captured a Class B district crown.

The Cougars (15-8-1, 5-1 CAAC White) are currently tied for first place in the conference with Fowlerville with four games left.

“We have high standards for ourselves,” Rebecka Poljan said. “We’re trying to live up to the standards with every practice and every rep that we do.”

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Fifth-year coach Ryan Miller said his program underwent a change of culture during his first couple of seasons. Rebecka Poljan has been one of the players in the driver’s seat as Lansing Catholic looks to build consistency as a program.

“She’s a high-energy player, no doubt,” Miller said. “If there’s a void that needs to be filled, she’s very motivated to fix that and be the player that can (fill the void).”

She leads the team in kills (59), aces (20) and blocks (13). The middle hitter said the Cougars are hopeful they can build on last year’s historic season, but believes there is still a lot more work to be done.

“We lost three seniors (last season), but we have five seniors back, which makes us an older team, and that’s a different dynamic,” she said. “We’re definitely getting our chemistry back together. We’re still trying to figure it out, but I think we’re going to come along well as a team.”

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Contact James L. Edwards III at jledwards@lsj.com. Follow him on Twitter @JLEdwardsIII.