Preview: Serving Up MHSAA History
Preview: Serving Up MHSAA History
Volleyball
Posted Wednesday, November 20, 2013

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

It’s hard to remember the last time Battle Creek St. Philip didn’t win the MHSAA Class D volleyball championship – except perhaps for fellow semifinalist Leland, the last to claim the title before the Tigers won the last seven.

St. Philip can tie Marysville’s MHSAA record eight straight titles this weekend and is among three regular-season favorites making the trip to Battle Creek’s Kellogg Arena – St. Philip, Mendon in Class C and Pontiac Notre Dame Prep in Class B all were ranked No. 1 in their respective classes heading into the tournament three weeks ago.

There are plenty of opportunities for firsts as well this weekend – nine of 16 teams making the trip are seeking their first MHSAA titles. Also appearing on the Kellogg court are three of this season’s Miss Basketball finalists: St. Philip’s Sierra Hubbard-Neil, Bloomfield Hills Marian’s Jessie Kopmeyer and East Grand Rapids’ Maeve McDonald.

Below is a look at all 16 teams playing. Class D and A Semifinals are today, with Class B and C on Friday and all four Finals on Saturday. All four Semifinals and Finals will be streamed live on a subscription bases and then archived at MHSAA.TVClick here for a full schedule of this weekend's games, plus links to brackets from every round of the tournament. Tickets cost $6 for Semifinals (both matches combined) and $7 per Final, with a Semifinal-Final ticket available for $15.

(NOTE: Rankings are those published by the Michigan Interscholastic Volleyball Coaches Association. Player statistics are through Regional Finals.)

Class A

BLOOMFIELD HILLS MARIAN
Record/rank: 
49-15, No. 3
Coach: Angela Kalczynski, first season (49-15)
League finish: Tied for first in Detroit Catholic League Central.
Championship game history: Two MHSAA titles (most recent 2010), four runner-up finishes.
Best wins: 2-1, 2-1 and 3-1 (Regional Final) over No. 10 Clarkston, 2-1 over No. 2 Portage Central, 2-0 over No. 9 Temperance Bedford, 2-0 and 2-0 over No. 5 Novi, 2-0 over No. 6 Northville.
Players to watch: Jessie Kopmeyer, 5-10 sr. OH; Paige Carey, 6-1 sr. MH; Morgan Garmo, 5-6 jr. S/L. (Statistics not submitted).
Finals forecast: Marian is loaded with experience, with Kopmeyer a returning all-stater, Carey an all-state honorable mention in 2012 and Garmo an all-region pick. On top of its impressive list of wins is a similarly impressive list of losses – Marian has played most of the best teams in Class A and also owns a win over Class B No. 4 Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central. The Mustangs made at least the Quarterfinals every season from 2004-05 through 2010, but this is their first appearance at the Finals since that last championship.

EAST GRAND RAPIDS
Record/rank: 
48-5-3, No. 8
Coach: Christine Grunewald, third season (137-21-3)
League finish: First in O-K White.
Championship game history: Has never appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 2-0, 3-0 and 3-0 (District Semifinal) over honorable mention Grand Rapids Christian, 2-0 and 2-1 over honorable mention Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern, 2-0 over No. 3 Bloomfield Hills Marian, 2-0 over No. 2 Portage Central, 3-0 over honorable mention East Kentwood (District Quarterfinal), 3-1 over No.4 Rockford (Regional Final).
Players to watch: Maeve McDonald, 5-6 sr. S (1,133 assists, 404 digs); Caroline Knooihuizen, 5-9 sr. OH (576 kills, 317 digs); Jordan Clappison, 5-7 fr. OH (251 kills, 257 digs); Zoe Macartney, 6-1 soph. MH (245 kills, 107 blocks).
Finals forecast: East Grand Rapids has won three league, two District and two Regional titles under Grunewald, who previously coached Lake Odessa Lakewood and can win her 350th match in the Semifinal. The Pioneers made the semis in Class B in 2010 and 2011, both times losing to Fruitport including in five sets two years ago. McDonald was a Miss Volleyball candidate this fall, while Knooihuizen also is back in Battle Creek as one of the team’s top hitters after making all-region in 2012.

NORTHVILLE
Record/rank: 
51-11-12, No. 6
Coach: Amanda Yaklin, fifth season (183-54-31) 
League finish: Second in Kensington Lakes Activities Association Central
Championship game history: Has never appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 2-1 and 2-0 over No. 3 Bloomfield Hills Marian, 2-0 over No. 9 Temperance Bedford, 2-1 over No. 10 Clarkston, 2-1 and 3-0 (District Final) over No. 5 Novi.
Players to watch: Symone Abbott, 6-0 sr. OH (701 kills 334 digs), Rachel Zawodny, 5-6 sr. S (855 assists, 247 digs); Olivia Boisineau, 6-1 jr. M (218 kills, 106 blocks).
Finals forecast: Northville will follow up last season’s first-ever Semifinal appearance with this second in a row and has now won 40 or more matches in each of the last three seasons. Abbott returns as the team’s best hitter and Zawodny and senior Katherine Boss have stepped in to replace the team’s graduated all-state setter. A current streak of 11 straight wins has included many of the team’s best as it grew from a 6-6-4 midseason stretch.

TEMPERANCE BEDFORD
Record/rank: 
65-9-2, No. 9
Coach: Jodi Manore, 29th season (1,744-292-50) 
League finish: First in Southeastern Conference
Championship game history: Three MHSAA titles (most recent 2005), five runner-up finishes. 
Best wins: 2-1,  2-0 and 3-2 (District Semifinal) over No. 6 Northville, 3-2 over honorable mention Livonia Stevenson in the Quarterfinal, 2-1 and 2-1 over Class D No. 1 Battle Creek St. Philip, 2-0 over Class B No. 1 Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, 2-0 over Class C No. 1 Mendon.
Players to watch:  Mackenzie Andrews, 5-9 sr. S (1,839 assists), Nicole Rightnowar 5-11 jr. MH (486 kills, 175 blocks, 506 digs); Kayla Gwozdz, 5-11 jr. OH (635 kills, 503 digs).
Finals forecast: Bedford, last season's Class A runner-up, can claim the rare feat of beating the No. 1-ranked teams in Class B, C and D this season, and also took two matches from Class B No. 4 Monroe St. Mary. Bedford reached the 2012 Final while unranked, but voters did not overlook the Kicking Mules this season ranking them as high as No. 6. Rightnowar and Gwozdz both earned all-state honorable mentions last season as sophomores and are two of five on their team with at least 225 kills this fall.  

Class B

CADILLAC
Record/rank: 
45-7-1, No. 7
Coach: Michelle Brines, 14th season (572-183-32) 
League finish: Second in Big North Conference 
Championship game history: Has never appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 2-0 over Class A honorable mention Holland West Ottawa, 2-0 over Class D No. 6 Leland, 2-0 over Class C honorable mention Bad Axe, 2-1 over Class C honorable mention Boyne City.
Players to watch: Selena Golnick, 5-11 sr. MH (566 kills, 140 blocks, 261 digs); Hannah Baker, 5-9 sr. S (1,083 assists, 295 digs); Morgan Briggs, 5-9 soph. OH (322 kills, 426 digs). 
Finals forecast: Tuesday marked Cadillac’s fourth straight trip to the Quarterfinals, and this weekend will include its first Semifinal appearance since 2010. Golnick was an all-state honorable mention hitter last season and Baker an all-region setter, and they’ve led a team that beat most of the best from the northern Lower Peninsula. Cadillac also played a number of schools its size and larger at tournaments – they won two, their flight in a third and finished runner-up twice.

GRAND RAPIDS SOUTH CHRISTIAN
Record/rank: 
45-11-1, No. 5
Coach: Allison Sagraves, fifth season (177-100-2)
League finish: Second in O-K Gold
Championship game history: Class B champion Winter 2007, runner-up 2006.
Best wins: 2-0, 2-0 and 3-0 (Regional Semifinal) over No. 6 Holland Christian, 3-2 over Class A honorable mention Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern, 2-1 and 2-0 over Class A honorable mention East Kentwood, 2-0 and 2-0 over Class A honorable mention Grand Rapids Christian, 2-1, 2-0, 2-0 and 2-0 over Class A No. 1 Hudsonville,
Players to watch: Danielle Oeverman, 5-11 sr. MB (387 kills, 139 blocks); Emily Blankespoor, 5-9 sr. S (1,187 assists, 339 digs); Taylor Wierenga, 6-0 sr. OH (346 kills, 129 digs); Cassidy Vredevoogd, 6-0 sr. OH (308 kills, 296 digs).
Finals forecast: The Sailors have improved their win total each season under Sagraves, a coaching legacy whose mother Deb Park led East Kentwood to a Class A runner-up finish in 1983. South Christian has shined against the best from the Grand Rapids area, beating the top-ranked team in Class A, Hudsonville, four times. Oeverman made the all-state third team last season and is part of a strong senior attack that’s helped key 10 wins in the Sailors’ last 11 matches.

PONTIAC NOTRE DAME PREP
Record/rank: 
60-2-1, No. 1
Coach: Betty Wroubel, 20th season (770-188-81) 
League finish: First in Detroit Catholic League AA
Championship game history: Class B champion Fall 2007.
Best wins: 2-0 over No. 9 Croswell-Lexington, 2-0 over No. 8 Mount Morris, 2-0 and 2-0 over No. 10 Frankenmuth, 3-2 over No. 3 North Branch in Quarterfinal, 3-0 over Class A No. 3 Bloomfield Hills Marian.
Players to watch: Katherine Carlson, 5-11 jr. OH (917 kills, 327 digs); Dani McCormick, 6-1 sr. MH (442 kills, 65 blocks); Hannah Antosz, 5-7 jr. S (804 assists); Ashley Knutson, 5-7 jr. S (741 assists).  
Finals forecast: Notre Dame Prep’s only losses this season were to Class A Semifinalist Temperance Bedford and honorable mention Lake Orion, making this the Fighting Irish’s most impressive run of at least the past two decades – including, so far, its championship season of 2007. Wroubel has led teams to MHSAA titles in both volleyball and softball during her time as one of the state’s winningest coaches. The hitters are exceptional; Carlson made the all-state first team last season and McCormick made the third as Notre Dame advanced to the Quarterfinals.

WAYLAND
Record/rank: 
60-5-1, No. 2
Coach: Kim Getty, fifth season (220-77-18) 
League finish: First in O-K Gold
Championship game history: Has never appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 2-0 and 2-1 over No. 6 Holland Christian, 3-0 and 3-0 over No.5 Grand Rapids South Christian, 3-1 over No. 4 Monroe St. Mary in the Quarterfinal, 2-1 over Class A No. 8 East Grand Rapids, 2-0 over Class D No. 1 Battle Creek St. Philip.
Players to watch: Krissy Dill, sr. OH (653 kills, 607 digs); Allison Getty, sr. OH (746 kills, 634 digs); Samantha Geivett, sr. S (1,459 assists, 388 digs).
Finals forecast: Wayland has won either its league, District or both the last four seasons, but took a jump this fall. The Wildcats also beat ranked Class C teams Schoolcraft and Bronson and have won 16 straight matches. This is the first time Wayland has made the final week of the season, and it appears poised for more with five senior starters playing their final high school matches. Dill and Allison Getty are tough to contend with at the net – both made the all-state second team in 2012.

Class C

AUBURN HILLS OAKLAND CHRISTIAN
Record/rank: 
38-7-8, unranked
Coach: Priscilla Larned, 29th season (875-329-68)
League finish: First in Michigan Independent Athletic Conference Blue
Championship game history: Has never appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 3-2 over Ottawa Lake Whiteford in the Quarterfinal, 3-0 over Troy Athens, 3-1 and 3-2 over Ann Arbor Greenhills, 3-1 and 3-2 over Westland Huron Valley Lutheran.
Players to watch: Marcella Compeau, sr. OH/L (375 kills, 117 aces, 584 digs); Camille Schomer, soph. OH/L (320 kills, 561 digs), Elaine Haggard, jr. S (962 assists, 206 digs)
Finals forecast: This will be the fifth Semifinal for Oakland Christian under Larned, also one of the state’s winningest coaches. Half the roster is underclassmen – including freshman starting hitter Alexandra Gudobba; four seniors also start. The Lancers had fallen twice this season to Whiteford before avenging those defeats with a close victory in the Quarterfinal – the first match during the MHSAA tournament Oakland Christian didn’t sweep.

BEAL CITY
Record/rank: 
55-3-1, No. 3
Coach: Kelly David, second season (98-13-2)
League finish: First in Highland Conference
Championship game history: Class D runner-up 2012.
Best wins: 2-1 over No. 5 St. Louis, 3-1 over honorable mention Traverse City St. Francis in the Regional Final, 3-1 over honorable mention Calumet in the Quarterfinal.
Players to watch: Addie Schumacher, 5-11 sr. MB (574 kills, .376 hitting %, 162 blocks, 412 digs); Melanie Schafer, 5-4 sr. OH (239 kills, 600 digs, 99 aces); Nicole Gross, 5-7 jr. OH (330 kills); Jenna Theisen, 5-6 jr. S (1,502 assists, 99 aces).
Finals forecast: In her first season as coach last fall – and only three after she played for Beal City in the Semifinals – David guided the Aggies to their first MHSAA championship match appearance. They moved to Class C this season but have remained in the mix with Schumacher an all-state first-team pick in 2012 and Schafer back after making the third team.

GRAND RAPIDS COVENANT CHRISTIAN
Record/rank: 
45-9, No. 8
Coach: Denise Uittenbogaard, eighth season (165-118-5)
League finish: First in River Valley Conference
Championship game history: Has never appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 2-0 over No. 1 Mendon, 3-1 over honorable mention Muskegon Western Michigan Christian, 3-1 over No. 2 Morley-Stanwood in the Regional Final, 3-0 over No. 4 Unionville-Sebewaing in the Quarterfinal.
Players to watch: Alyssa Scholten, 6-2 sr. MH (464 kills, 109 blocks); Shelby Lubbers, 5-10 sr. MH (306 kills, 370 digs); Cailey DeJong, 5-9 sr. S/OH (273 kills, 512 assists, 182 aces, 378 digs).
Finals forecast: The Chargers have won District titles three of the last four seasons under Uittenbogaard and claimed their first Regional title ever last week. Covenant Christian also has wins over most of the best in Class C according to the final coaches rankings, and got some additional prep for the tournament in losses to Class B semifinalist Grand Rapids South Christian and Class A honorable mention Grand Rapids Christian at the end of the regular season.

MENDON
Record/rank: 
49-7-2, No. 1
Coach: Kathy Trenary, 20h season (721-297-115) 
League finish: First in St. Joseph Valley League
Championship game history: Three MHSAA titles (most recent 2001).
Best wins: 3-1, 3-0, 3-2 and 3-1 (District Final) over No. 6 Bronson, 3-2 over No. 7 Schoolcraft in the Quarterfinal, 2-1 over Class B honorable mention Berrien Springs.
Players to watch:  Brooke Howard, 5-10 sr. MH (546 kills, .379 hitting %, 443 digs), Loryn Baughman, 5-9 sr. S (1,137 assists); Jordan VanOss, 5-5 soph. OH (265 kills, .345 hitting %, 409 digs); Alexis Russell, 5-11 sr. MH (381 kills, .340 hitting %, 377 digs).  
Finals forecast: Make that 13 straight District titles for Mendon on the way to this second straight appearance in Battle Creek. Although the Hornets did graduate an all-state hitter last season, Howard and Russell both made the second team in 2012 and VanOss made the third – with Baughman setting them during last season’s run. They’ve seen their share of top teams from all four classes this season, with three losses to those playing this weekend – Temperance Bedford, Covenant Christian and Class D No. 1 Battle Creek St. Philip.

Class D

BATTLE CREEK ST. PHILIP
Record/rank: 
62-7-2, No. 1
Coach: Vicky Groat, 16th season (907-177-76) 
League finish: First in Southern Central Athletic Association
Championship game history: 18 MHSAA titles (most recent 2012), eight runner-up finishes.
Best wins: 3-0 over No. 5 Hillsdale Academy in the Quarterfinal, 3-0 over Class C No. 6 Bronson, 2-0 over Class B No. 5 Grand Rapids South Christian, 2-0 over Class B No. 1 Hudsonville, 2-0 over Class C No. 1 Mendon, 2-0 over Class C No. 7 Schoolcraft.
Players to watch: Sierra Hubbard-Neil, 5-9 sr. OH (850 kills, .470 hitting %, 481 digs, 115 aces); Emily Freybler, 5-7 sr. MH (280 kills, 292 digs); Emily Schaub, 5-8 jr. S (1,618 assists, 110 aces, 306 digs).
Finals forecast: Graduate Miss Volleyball plus two more all-staters? That’s just meant more business as usual for the Tigers, who have won the last seven Class D titles and again dominated this fall despite playing the best in the state regardless of class. Another championship and St. Philip will tie Marysville’s record of eight straight from 1997-2004. Hubbard-Neil has been a mainstay in the lineup and was a Miss Volleyball candidate this fall after making all-state the last three.

CRYSTAL FALLS FOREST PARK
Record/rank: 
31-1-5, No. 9
Coach: Kim Bjork, eighth season (253-24-32) 
League finish: First in Skyline Conference
Championship game history: Has never appeared in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 3-0 over No. 10 Stephenson in the Regional Final, 3-0 over Kingsford, 3-0 over Iron River West Iron County.
Players to watch: Lexi Gussert, 6-1 sr. MH (442 kills, .398 hitting %, 92 aces, 83 blocks); Maria Stankewicz, 5-5 soph. S (673 assists, 73 aces); Libby Shamion, 5-6 soph. OH (103 kills, 94 aces)
Finals forecast: The Trojans haven’t lost since their first tournament of the season and haven’t given up a set in 15 straight matches. Gussert, was an all-state second teamer last season and also should be a Miss Basketball candidate this winter and again one of the top golfers in the Upper Peninsula in the spring. Forest Park has won league and District titles every season under Bjork and missed the Quarterfinals only once, in 2009.

LELAND
Record/rank: 
33-14-7, No. 6
Coach: Laurie Glass (865-278-98)
League finish: Second in Northwest Conference
Championship game history: Four MHSAA titles (most recent 2006), five runner-up finishes.
Best wins: 3-1 over No. 4 Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart in the Quarterfinal, 3-1 over Bear Lake in the Regional Semifinal, 3-2 over Class C honorable mention Traverse City St. Francis.
Players to watch: Noa Yaakoby, 5-9 sr. OH (423 kills, 242 digs); Caitlin Mckee, 5-5 sr. S (757 assists, 247 digs), Felicia Whittaker, 5-8 sr. MB (222 kills, 86 aces, 107 digs)
Finals forecast: Leland is back at the Finals for the first time since winning Class D in 2006 – the Comets beat St. Philip that winter and are the last team besides St Philip to win this class. Mckee earned an all-state honorable mention last season as Leland fell to St. Philip in a Quarterfinal. The Comets went 29-5-2 against Class C and D teams this fall.

WATERFORD OUR LADY
Record/rank: 
40-5-6, No. 2
Coach: Stephanie Swearingen, fifth season (111-35-18) 
League finish: First in Detroit Catholic League East
Championship game history: Has never played in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 2-0 over Class A No. 6 Northville, 2-1 over Class A honorable mention Holland West Ottawa, 2-0 over Class C honorable mention Boyne City.
Players to watch: Courtney Wightman, 5-11 soph. OH (503 kills, 63 blocks, 292 digs, 117 aces); Allison Samulon, 5-8 sr. OH (332 kills, 40 blocks); Kristina Krupiak, 5-7 sr. RS (163 kills, 36 blocks, 190 digs, 97 aces); Kali Bagley, 5-6 sr. S (1,026 assists, 107 aces)
Finals forecast: Our Lady returned to the Quarterfinals last season for the first time since 2001 and has taken the next step thanks in part to returning all-state honorable mention hitters Krupiak and Wightman. The Lakers have upped their win total every season under Swearingen, a former All-America in track and field at the University of Michigan who won an MHSAA high jump title at Okemos and also played volleyball at Oakland University.

PHOTO: Beal City senior Addie Schumacher (8) drives the ball during the Aggies' District match this month against Sanford Meridian. (Click to see more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)


Comments

There are currently no comments, be the first to post one.

Post Comment

Name (required)

Email (required)

Website

CAPTCHA image
Enter the code shown above: