2018-04-12 / Sports

Volleyball programs to join forces


VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS at Northport are no strangers to co-ops after spending multiple seasons alongside players from Lake Leelanau St. Mary. Now, pending MHSAA approval, they’ll do the same with Suttons Bay girls in the fall. Members of the Northport co-op are pictured during a 2017 district matchup with Leland. VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS at Northport are no strangers to co-ops after spending multiple seasons alongside players from Lake Leelanau St. Mary. Now, pending MHSAA approval, they’ll do the same with Suttons Bay girls in the fall. Members of the Northport co-op are pictured during a 2017 district matchup with Leland. The Suttons Bay School Board on Monday approved the newest North Bay co-op — a volleyball team with athletes from Suttons Bay and the previously existing co-op between Northport and Lake Leelanau St. Mary.

“Last year at Suttons Bay we had one junior and the rest were sophomores and freshmen,” said Suttons Bay AD Doug Periard, whose daughter, a sophomore, played varsity ball under coach Kelly Mokanyk. “I’ll go back to the statement I made before: These co-ops give student-athletes opportunities to compete — not just play.”

Declining enrollment at Suttons Bay and low numbers at Northport led to the decision to link up.


MAYA SHAW is one of a handful of promising young volleyball players coming up through the Suttons Bay ranks. MAYA SHAW is one of a handful of promising young volleyball players coming up through the Suttons Bay ranks. The Norsemen finished 5-24 under Mokanyk last fall while Northport posted an 18-13-4 mark under coach Teresa Szur, who is also the athletic director and softball coach at St. Mary.

Szur was asked if she has interest in the new North Bay coaching position, but she declined to comment until the co-op is approved by the MHSAA Representative Council.

At this point, Periard said, it’s unclear who will coach the team.

One idea floating around is having one varsity team and two JV teams, but that will depend on participation, among other things.

Regardless, he feels confident in the future of the program.

“So far we’ve had a great deal of success meshing programs together with Northport,” he said.

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