By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
The Novi volleyball team’s run to four straight Class A Finals and three straight championships over the last four seasons saw performances by a number of elite hitters – and one on-court constant directing the attack.
Erin O’Leary graduated this spring with an MHSAA-record 5,790 assists during her four years as the team’s starting setter, topping the rest of the best in that category by 180. She had a high of 1,521 assists last fall as a senior, that total coming in ninth for a single season, and all four of her season totals rank among the top 24 since the MHSAA went to rally scoring in 2004-05.
In addition, O’Leary made the career aces list with 327. Victoria Iacobelli, the top hitter on the 2014 runner-up team, was added for 642 kills that fall. Iacobelli has gone on to play at Bowling Green, while O’Leary claimed the statewide Miss Volleyball Award as a senior and will begin her college career at University of Michigan this upcoming season.
Click to see the volleyball record book in full plus more recent record book additions in baseball, girls and boys basketball, football and softball.
Morenci’s Matthew Schiermyer enjoyed a memorable day April 28, 1995, when he belted three home runs in his team’s 8-6 win over Ottawa Lake Whiteford. He drove in five runs total with the three homers.
Kingsley’s Alex Parker was hit by 38 pitches over a four-year varsity career that concluded this spring, including by 16 pitches as a junior. His career total is tied for 12th all-time. He will continue his career at Henry Ford College.
Onsted’s Taylor Hutchinson knocked down 41 more 3-pointers this past season to finish her four-year varsity career with 167, making the records list in that category. She will continue her career at Jackson College.
Hale sophomore Joseph Kimmerer helped his team to a league championship last winter and earned an entry in the record book among sharp shooters. He made 88.3 percent of his free-throw attempts over 21 games (83 of 94) to tie for the 15th-best percentage for one season.
Then-senior Griffin Kelly got his final season off to a great start last Aug. 25, running for six touchdowns in making the single-game list for rushing scores as his Frankfort team defeated Manton 70-40. He is continuing his career at Northern Michigan University.
Dearborn Heights Star International’s Saif Almalla was waiting for a kickoff from Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest to roll into the end zone last Oct. 6 – but when it didn’t, he picked up the ball and raced 99 yards for a touchdown while also tying the record for longest kickoff return in MHSAA history. Almalla will be a senior this fall.
A trio of strong hitters put up record book-caliber seasons in 2017 for Farmington Hills Mercy. Sophie Van Acker, then a senior, had 84 hits – 10th most for one spring – and graduated with 241 hits over four seasons. Nicole Belans added 18 doubles for a career total of 33, and also made the single-season RBI list with 70. Anna Dixon, then a junior, also had 70 RBI, in addition to 78 hits and 73 runs scored. Van Acker signed with Lehigh University out of high school, and Dixon will continue at Hillsdale College.
Muskegon Orchard View slugger Halee Holman is off to a great start after two seasons on varsity, and with two more to go. As a sophomore this spring, she made the MHSAA record book with 14 home runs and 90 RBI – the RBI tied for fifth-most all-time. She’s also on the career RBI list with 156 and just short of the career home run list with 19 so far.
Lansing Waverly’s Madeline Stump capped a memorable run this spring with four entries for career accomplishments. Across four seasons and 132 games, Stump hit .546 with 230 hits including 50 doubles and 25 home runs.
PHOTO: Novi’s Erin O’Leary sets a teammate during last season’s Class A Semifinal win over DeWitt.