GR Christian Runs Finals Win Streak to 3

By Paul Costanzo
Special for

January 16, 2021

BATTLE CREEK – Grand Rapids Christian volleyball coach Tiffannie Gates said she knew Lake Odessa Lakewood wanted another crack at her team in this season’s Division 2 Final. 

Lakewood earned that opportunity, but it was the Eagles who walked out of Kellogg Arena as champions. 

Grand Rapids Christian defeated Lakewood 25-20, 25-20, 25-19 Saturday to claim its third-straight Finals title. 

“I think each year has had its own special meaning to me as a coach with these championships,” Gates said. “This year, with this group of seniors, has a very special place in my heart – they all do – but they’ve been here, most of them, from Day 1 as freshmen. Just to see their determination to social distance and not go to parties and make sure they could get to this day, you don’t see that very often from kids this age. It really moved me.

“Our message today in the locker room was love each other above all else, and if we do that, we’re going to be fine.” 

It’s the third title in as many Finals trips for the Grand Rapids Christian program – and second straight against Lakewood – and after the match, the players were sporting shirts that had been made up for the occasion, which read, “Our tweets 3-peat.” 

“I can’t even really put it into words right now, I don’t think,” Grand Rapids Christian senior Lauren Peal said. “It’s still kind of setting in that that just happened, if I’m being honest. It’s just an overwhelming feeling of the love from our teammates every single year, and the support that we have for each other. How we go into this game is 100 percent loving on each other and being there for each other the whole entire time. That whole entire game, we were playing for each other. I think that over any other feeling is what comes out of this, the overwhelming feeling of love you have during this game.” 

Lakewood coach Cameron Rowland said it was Grand Rapids Christian’s multi-dimensional attack that gave his team problems, specifically the contributions from middle hitters Stephanie Stewart and Kate Breems, who had nine and four kills, respectively.  

Much of the credit for that goes to setter Alyssa DeVries, who had 43 assists while spreading the ball around the court. 

“I think she had the best match of her season tonight,” Gates said. “She had big shoes to fill, and she came in and she worked her butt off. We did extra practice with her every day of the regular season. She transformed into a completely different player from the first day until today. I am extremely proud of her.” 

Addie VanderWeide led the Eagles’ attack with 19 kills, while Evie Doezema had 16. Peal added 17 digs, while VanderWeide had 11. 

It was VanderWeide and Doezema that Rowland said he was expecting to have to deal with, and while they had strong matches, the rest of the Eagles’ attack was enough to get his team off rhythm. 

“When we got the ball to the net to (Lakewood setter Skylar Bump), they served really, really well so we were scrambling a little more than we were used to,” Rowland said. “We’ve been the team that’s been in system all year, and they kind of took that away from us with their ability to do what they did from the service line.” 

Aubrey O’Gorman led Lakewood with 17 kills, while Maradith O’Gorman added eight kills and 15 digs. Bump had 23 assists and 14 digs, and Carley Piercefield had 14 digs. 

“I’m just so incredibly honored to play in a program that is able to get to this point every single year, year after year,” Aubrey O’Gorman said. “It has been established that we will be here in November every single year – or January – and I’m just so incredibly honored to be a part of that.” 

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) A pair of Lakewood blockers defend against a Grand Rapids Christian kill attempt Saturday night at Kellogg Arena. (Middle) Maradith O’Gorman keeps a ball in play for the Vikings. (Click for more from Hockey Weekly Action Photos.)

Performance of the Week: Clarkston Everest Collegiate's Sarah Bradley

November 22, 2023

Sarah BradleySarah Bradley ♦ Clarkston Everest Collegiate
Junior ♦ Volleyball

The 6-0 outside hitter had 31 kills – tied for sixth-most in an MHSAA Final – with a .419 hitting percentage and 18 digs as Everest Collegiate came back from a two-set deficit to defeat No. 4-ranked Leland in five in Saturday’s Division 4 championship match at Kellogg Arena. The first Finals title in program history capped a tournament run that saw the Mountaineers also win their first Regional title. Everest entered the postseason ranked No. 10 in Division 4 and finished 32-4-2.

Bradley finished the season with 420 kills, adding 15 in a Quarterfinal win over No. 6 Marlette and 25 in a five-set Semifinal victory over top-ranked Adrian Lenawee Christian during which Everest also came back after losing the first two sets. Bradley was named to the Division 4 all-state first team after earning an honorable mention as a sophomore. She also plays basketball, softball and soccer for the Mountaineers and is interested in pursuing a career in the medical field as she begins contemplating her college possibilities.

@mhsaasports 🏐POW: Sarah Bradley #volleyball #bump #set #spike #part1 #highschoolsports #tiktalk #interview #performanceoftheweek #mistudentaid #fyp #MHSAA ♬ original sound - MHSAA

@mhsaasports 🏐POW: Sarah Bradley #tiktalk #questiontime #part2 #gilmoregirls #instagram #culvers #thumbsup #smileyface #performanceoftheweek #mistudentaid #fyp #MHSAA ♬ original sound - MHSAA

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Past 2023-24 Honorees

Nov. 17: Kalieb Osborne, Waterford Mott football - Report
Nov. 10:
Tekalegn Vlasma, Muskegon Western Michigan Christian soccer - Report
Nov. 3:
Colton Kinnie, Birmingham Seaholm football - Report
Oct. 27:
Lauren Timpf, Macomb Lutheran North golf - Report
Oct. 20:
Alena Li, Okemos golf - Report
Oct. 13:
Seth Norder, Grand Haven cross country - Report
Oct. 5:
Paige Anderson, Muskegon Reeths-Puffer golf - Report
Sept. 29:
MacKenzie Bisballe, Lake City volleyball - Report
Sept. 22:
Jhace Massey, Gladwin football - Report
Sept. 15:
Kaylee Draper, Sturgis swimming - Report
Sept. 8:
Owen Jackson, Traverse City St. Francis tennis - Report
Sept. 1:
Rachel Forsyth, Ann Arbor Pioneer cross country - Report

(Photos courtesy of the Clarkston Everest Collegiate athletic department.)