ESCANABA — Andrea Cerma is not new to volleyball.
Playing at Escanaba High School, this fall, however, was a new experience for the exchange student from Italy.
The senior left-handed hitter made the most of her opportunity while becoming one of the team’s leaders. Escanaba’s season came to an end Monday with a Division 2 District loss to Houghton.
“Andrea has brought a lot of passion,” coach Adam Lambert said. “She celebrates every point, which is something Escanaba has struggled with. Here, they celebrate the big points. I think some of it has rubbed off on the other girls. It’s contagious.”
There are no school-sponsored teams in Italy, where athletes instead play on club teams.
“The culture is completely different,” Cerma said. “We play outside. It would be warm over there for Michigan people. We also get a lot of wind. The wind has zero effect when you play inside, but it’s more of a factor outside.
Cerma is a left-handed hitter and said she believes that threw opponents off at first. Also an 88-percent server, she averaged five kills, three assists and three digs a game and had a 1.71 serve receive rating through the end of the regular season last week. She collected six kills in a 3-0 victory over Menominee and added seven kills and five assists in last Tuesday’s 3-1 (25-23, 20-25, 25-17, 25-22) loss to Marquette.
“Andrea is our leading scorer,” Lambert said last week. “She’s very coachable and not afraid to ask questions if she doesn’t understand a drill or an assignment.
"Over there, they do more stretching. Here, teams shake hands and go home after the matches. Andrea does stretching after every match and leads the other girls in stretching, although it hasn’t really caught on here yet.”
“Andrea has brought a lot of excitement and new things to our team,” senior Aleaha Lambert added. “She has a great swing. We’re learning new ways to do things. Right now we need to work on reaching high and following through on our swings.”
Prior to last Thursday’s 3-0 loss (25-21, 25-14, 25-15) to Manistique, Cerma had 132 kills, 87 digs, 77 assists and 12 blocks on the season.
“Andrea has been real flexible,” Coach Lambert said. “We moved her to an outside hitter position which made it easier for her to get some shots. She had one perfect night where she didn’t have any hitting errors. She's a very accurate hitter. She had as many (as) 17-18 kills in one match. Other teams didn’t see that coming. She can see the court real well. Andrea has been a nice addition to our team.”
Cerma finished with three kills and three digs in Thursday’s regular-season finale against the Emeralds. She added two kills, an assist and three digs against Houghton in the closing 18-25, 18-25, 25-23, 23-25 defeat.
“(Manistique’s) energy is very high,” junior Lily Nelson said after that match. “They were paying attention to Andrea for sure. She’s a real good all-around player who brings a lot of energy to our team.”
John Vrancic has covered high school sports in the Upper Peninsula since joining the Escanaba Daily Press staff in 1985. He is known most prominently across the peninsula for his extensive coverage of cross country and track & field that frequently appears in newspapers from the Wisconsin border to Lake Huron. He received the James Trethewey Award for Distinguished Service in 2015 from the Upper Peninsula Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association.
PHOTOS (top) Escanaba’s Andrea Cerma prepares to serve against Marquette on Oct. 24. (Middle) Cerma (13) ascends to kill the ball during a match against Manistique on Thursday. (Photos courtesy of the Escanaba Daily Press.)
Sarah 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.
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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.)