New coach Pummill eager to build winning culture at Schoolcraft

New coach Pummill eager to build winning culture at Schoolcraft


New coach Pummill eager to build winning culture at Schoolcraft


Schoolcraft College’s women’s volleyball team has a new coach and perhaps a new resolve to succeed this season.

That’s what Lady Ocelots head coach Shannon Pummill and assistant coach Megan Gohl have in mind as the 2014 schedule opens this weekend with a tri-match at Lorain Community College.

“I am looking to have a whole different program,” said Pummill (formerly Petruszka), a high school volleyball standout at Garden City who just finished her Concordia University career. “I just want to have a disciplined team that communicates well and does much better in the league this year.

“I really want to build a program. Last year, it seemed there wasn’t a lot of team chemistry and that’s our goal this year.”

The Lady Ocelots went 16-19 and finished in the middle of the pack in the Michigan Community College Athletic Association in 2013.

With the opening matches on tap, Pummill and Gohl (a Belleville alum) watched with great interest Wednesday evening as Schoolcraft scrimmaged against Lawrence Technological University.

“I have so many girls that can go in different positions, it’s awesome for us to play people all over,” Pummill said. “We don’t really know our starting lineup right now.

“We’re just trying things out and it’s really important to get out there and to compare ourselves to four-year schools and schools in our conference.”

Three players with ties to Observerland schools are being counted to as key players and team leaders — sophomore outside hitter Morgan Copperstone (Livonia Stevenson), sophomore setter Julene Pummill (Garden City) and freshman outside hitter Paige Chalmers (Wayne Memorial).

“Morgan brings power to our team, she is our power hitter,” Shannon Pummill said. “She goes up and every time you can see it on her face, she goes up for the kill and that’s why we love Morgan. She thumps the ball.”

The coach said another sophomore “thumper” will be Romulus alum Ajsha Davie, while Monroe Jefferson alum Sydnee Miller can hammer it home.

Setting up the front row will be either Julene Pummill or sophomore Lindsey Umin (New Boston Huron).

“They are fighting and they are very even right now,” the coach said. “These scrimmages are really important for us. We try to throw them in there and see how they do.

“They are complete opposites and they are both neck-and-neck right now. They are very different. Lindsey is more laid back and Julene is a little more go-go-go, get every ball.”

Chalmers is battling to earn a spot in the lineup at outside hitter, although she is versatile enough to contribute anywhere on the floor.

“She is going to bring us a lot of help,” Pummill said about Chalmers. “Paige can play anywhere I put her and that’s super important to have as a player.”

In the mix

Vying for the libero spot are freshmen Emily Thompson (Allen Park Cabrini) and Victoria Vellucci (Fraser), although both figure to be regular contributors on defense.

“Those two are doing awesome in the back row for us,” Pummill said.

They perhaps are unexpectedly in the spotlight, following 2013 libero Karlee Harding’s recent decision to leave the squad.

Taking care of duties at middle hitter will be sophomores Kathleen Summers (Cabrini), Caroline Scott (Pinckney) and Bailey Potter (Ida), who also can play on the right side.

Summers is another heavy hitter; she was one of five Schoolcraft players (along with Copperstone, Davis, Miller and Harding) named in a preseason ranking as the top players in the NJCAA Region 12 East.

“I was surprised to have that many and I was excited to see that,” Pummill said. “One of my players in the rankings quit last week, Karlee Harding. She just decided to give up on the game.”

Rounding out the roster is freshman middle hitter Nicole Sprinkles (Carleton Airport).

The Lady Ocelots so far are bringing enthusiasm to practice sessions and appear to be following the blueprint the new coaches want them to.

“We wanted a team that loved to play the game, because last year they didn’t,” Pummill said. “That was the biggest thing, we really wanted these girls to want to be out there and to want to play for us. It’s coming along just as we had hoped.”

So far, so good

Concurring were Copperstone, Julene Pummill and Chalmers.

“I think we’re going to do really well this year,” Copperstone said. “We just have to work on communication together and I think we’ll play well as a team.”

The younger Pummill said the team is jelling already.

“I think a lot of us are starting to get together well, especially with the scrimmages showing us the pace of the game,” Julene Pummill said. “We’re adjusting very well to the pace of the game, as a unit, instead of individually.

“We do have a lot of returners, but we do have a lot of incoming freshmen that are needing to step up to the (defensive specialist) and libero position. They’re making very good adjustments.”

Chalmers said the adjustment from KLAA to Schoolcraft is going smoothly.

“It’s definitely a challenge to be able to come in and become a starter as a freshman,” Chalmers said. “The team welcomes you with open arms, they’re very helpful and give you advice when you need it. I’m looking forward to a great year.

“And I think we’ve been doing pretty good during scrimmages. There’s some things we obviously need to work on, but we’re growing, we’re a new team and we’re going to get up there.”

Twitter: @TimSmith_Sports

 Shannon Pummill

Shannon Pummill

 Morgan Copperstone (from left), Julene Pummill and Paige Chalmers are area players who are being counted on to lead Schoolcraft.

Morgan Copperstone (from left), Julene Pummill and Paige Chalmers are area players who are being counted on to lead Schoolcraft.


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