Coach Michael Love is confident his Farmington Harrison volleyball team will be better prepared for its second meeting with Birmingham Seaholm.
The Hawks have spent the last two weeks getting ready for the match at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Class A district tournament at Bloomfield Hills Marian.
Harrison hasn’t had any official matches since winning the FPS city tournament Oct. 20, but it hasn’t been idle by any means.
In addition to practicing with a single focus on Seaholm, the Hawks had scrimmage matches with Catholic League powers Notre Dame Prep and Mercy.
Harrison (33-9-2) faced Seaholm in the first round of the playoffs Oct. 11 at the Marian Elite tournament and lost in two games.
The Maples, who are Class A honorable mentions in the latest coaches poll, finished third in the OAA Red Division behind No. 3-ranked Clarkston and No. 5 Lake Orion.
The Hawks, who have won four tournaments, including the city meet, are co-champions of the OAA White Division for the second straight year.
“We know Seaholm is a great team,” Love said, adding the Hawks weren’t mentally ready to play the Maples. “We were too focused on their rank in the state instead of playing our game.
“We’ve had plenty of time to prepare the last two weeks and to work on the simple things like serve receive, transitioning into coverage and staying on our feet when passing and being consistent, making the serve.
“The small things are what matter most in big competition. I told the girls, ‘If we stay consistent and make fewer errors, I think we can win.’ That’s basically it.
“We just have to come out prepared and ready for battle. We’ve played some good competition in the past couple weeks to get prepared for big teams.”
Love added the Hawks have to play within themselves and not overthink the situation on the court.
“Once you make an error, you can’t let it stick with you,” he said. “You have to move forward and worry about the next play. But the girls are definitely excited to play Seaholm again.
“They do run a quick middle and we have to transition faster to be in the right place. We can’t be on our heels, and we have to get touches on blocks.
“If we can’t get touches on blocks, there’s no way our defense will be able to dig the ball. They place the ball pretty well.”
North Farmington faces a big challenge Wednesday, too. The Raiders will likely play Marian, the newly crowned Catholic League champion and defending district champion, at 7 p.m.
Harrison defeated North in the first round a year ago and lost to Marian in a district semifinal, 25-21, 25-15, 25-13.
A possible rematch with the No. 6-ranked Mustangs in the district final Friday evening was more than Love was ready to contemplate.
“I’m not thinking too far ahead,” he said. “I want to focus on Seaholm first. We played Marian enough times this year; we should be able to cover everything about how they play.”
The Hawks played the Mustangs twice at the Mount Morris Invite and lost both matches.
“The first time they beat us pretty bad,” Love said. “The second time we came out stronger, but Marian is a fast-paced team and likes to get teams out of rotation quickly. They didn’t allow us to set anything up.”
Senior middle Leah Petrak and junior outside Mikel Coleman will have especially important roles in blocking the opponents’ spikes.
Senior setter Katie Conrad and sophomore hitter Stefanie Jankiewicz have been a potent offensive combination, and seniors Jessica Khoury and Teresa Malaj have been the defensive leaders in the back row.
In the Class A district at Detroit Renaissance, Farmington plays Southfield of the OAA Blue Division in the first round Monday.
The winner meets defending champion and No. 7-ranked Mercy in a semifinal match at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
The championship match is Thursday evening against one of three Detroit PSL teams – either the host Phoenix, Mumford or Cody.