Monroe St Mary 'Lions' Roar in Repeat

By Paul Costanzo
Special for

January 16, 2021

BATTLE CREEK – The Kestrel is the official nickname of Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central. 

But as sports were put on pause late this past fall, the volleyball team found another animal to represent it and get it through the break. 

“We definitely adopted some new mottos over the break,” senior middle hitter Abbie Costlow said. “We got a lion – our team represents a lion. And that’s really propelled us through this last run of the state playoffs. It’s really helped us and driven our focus.” 

The Kestrels were lion-like Saturday, claiming their second straight Division 3 volleyball title with a dominant 25-19, 25-16, 25-8 win against Schoolcraft. It’s the seventh title for the program, and for the second-straight year they capped it off with a win against Schoolcraft in a matchup of the division’s top two teams in the rankings. 

It also was the end of a dominant run this season for St. Mary, which won its final 23 sets and didn’t drop one throughout the postseason. 

While the 2019 Final was a five-set thriller, this edition was dominated by St. Mary throughout, as it charged out to a 6-0 lead in the first set and never looked back. The Kestrels trailed only once through the entire match, as Schoolcraft took a 2-1 lead in the third set. That was immediately wiped out, however. 

“As we talked pregame, it really didn’t matter what they were doing on their side; it mattered what we were doing on our 30-by-30 court,” St. Mary coach Karen O’Brien said. “It was important that we just came out strong for us.” 

The Kestrels’ two-headed monster of Costlow and Mikayla Haut led a dominant attack, as Haut had 17 kills and Costlow had 14. Each were above 35 percent on their attacks, and the team was at 32.1 percent overall. 

“For one, our passing and our defense was extremely good,” O’Brien said. “And then, with those two things, our setter has three options. We started off, in the beginning of the first set, I think Abbie had four or five kills in a row, and I don’t know if that caught them off guard a little bit, because normally we feed Mikayla at the beginning. Abbie got the first five swings, and I just think with our passing and our defense, and a lot of that has to do with Jaydin (Nowak) playing the back row, and Ava Kuehnlein and Mikayla in the back row, that they’re so used to each other and have such great chemistry. As long as we’re passing and playing defense, we can run anything that we want to. The defense on the other side just doesn’t know who it’s coming from.” 

Nowak led the defense with 23 digs, while Haut – a Miss Volleyball finalist who is headed to Fairfield University in Connecticut – added 12. The Kestrels’ two setters were also busy, as Kate Collingsworth had 28 assists, and Grace Lipford had 12. 

Kelby Goldschmeding led Schoolcraft with 15 digs, while Allie Goldschmeding had 12. Kayla Onken had 15 assists for the Eagles (37-4), and Maggie Morris finished with nine kills. 

“I feel like at moments we won the serve and serve-receive battle, and that was a focus, but we couldn’t control it for the whole match,” Schoolcraft coach Erin Onken said. “I think we stayed as aggressive as we could. I thought Allie and Maggie really stayed aggressive attack-wise today. Kelby made some great saves back row for us. All in all, we just got beat by a great team that had a great day.” 

Schoolcraft advanced to the final without playing a Semifinal, as Saginaw Valley Lutheran was forced to withdraw from the tournament earlier in the week. Both coaches agreed that getting to play Thursday was an advantage for the Kestrels, but Onken said it didn’t affect the outcome.  

“That was a disadvantage, for sure, but that’s not why we lost or why we played how we did today at all,” she said. “We should have been able to walk in here with the kids who started last year and played here last year, as many as we had starting on the floor today, we should have been able to come out with a little bit more steam. So, yeah, that stinks, but it’s not a factor for today.” 

Of course, both teams had the experience of 2019 to draw from, and it was something the St. Mary players also valued. 

“You never can really prepare to play in a gym this big under the lights,” Haut said. “Usually, it’s a lot louder, so that was definitely different than last year. But when you play a game in Battle Creek before, it definitely helps you.” 

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Monroe St. Mary’s Mikayla Haut follows through on a swing during Saturday’s Division 3 Final. (Middle) Schoolcraft’s Maggie Morris winds up at the net. (Click for more from Hockey Weekly Action Photos.)

2023 WISL Award Honoree Glass Continuing to Create Leaders On Court & Off

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

March 2, 2023

Hailing from one of Michigan’s smallest communities, Laurie Glass has made an impact that continues to connect all over Michigan.

But her impact on women’s athletics began long before a career that has seen the longtime Leland volleyball coach become one of the winningest in her sport in state history.

As a high school junior in 1976, she recruited seven classmates and a coach to form Leland’s first girls sports team – for basketball – and the same group then played volleyball that winter. She was a senior and major contributor when, during their second season, the Comets won the 1978 Class D volleyball championship.

More than four decades later, Glass is a Michigan legend in that sport – a winner of 1,218 matches with Leland and Traverse City Central and three Finals championships with the Comets. She’s also a nationally-recognized voice in volleyball and women’s athletics as a whole – and this year’s MHSAA Women in Sports Leadership honoree for those many and continuing contributions.

“Because I’m a teacher and coach, that’s my desire to help the youth be the best they could be. And if I can impact a coach or impact another district or program, that means I’m affecting more youth in a positive way,” Glass said. “So for me, it’s just the ripple effect; it gets a lot bigger when I’m starting little drops in other places. So I can affect the hundreds of kids that I’ve seen go through Leland, or I can impact the larger audience by impacting coaches or impacting kids in other places that can then impact other people. It allows me a wider audience for wanting to help young women to be their best young woman self in however way I can make that happen.”

Each year, the Representative Council considers the achievements of women coaches, officials and athletic administrators affiliated with the MHSAA who show exemplary leadership capabilities and positive contributions to athletics.

Leland finished 49-13 this past season and reached the Division 4 Quarterfinals. Glass has a record of 1,218-393-122 over more than three decades as a varsity volleyball coach, having led the Comets for a combined 29 seasons over three tenures, the first beginning with the 1989-90 winter season and later picking up with her most recent return for Fall 2010. She also coached Traverse City Central for four seasons beginning in 1991-92.

Glass passes the championship trophy to her team after the Comets won the 2015 Class D title.Glass led Leland to Class D Finals championships in 2002, 2006 and 2015, and runner-up finishes in Class D in 2014 and Division 4 in 2018 and 2019. She was named to the Michigan Interscholastic Volleyball Coaches Association (MIVCA) Hall of Fame in 2006, and selected as national Coach of the Year in volleyball in 2014 by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Coaches Association. She’s a three-time MIVCA Coach of the Year and was named Michigan High School Coaches Association (MHSCA) Coach of the Year for volleyball in 2015. She also was a finalist for National High School Athletic Coaches Association (NHSACA) national Coach of the Year in 2014. 

Glass has spoken multiple times at the MHSAA Women In Sports Leadership Conference and several times at the MIVCA Coaches Clinic, and among various other engagements was the featured speaker at the Nebraska Athletic Association Coaches Clinic. She will receive the Women In Sports Leadership Award during the MHSAA Division 1 Girls Basketball Final on March 18 at Michigan State University’s Breslin Center.

“Laurie Glass is recognized most on the statewide level for leading one of the most successful volleyball programs in state history. But she is known among her peers most for the way she teaches not only volleyball but life skills to her athletes,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said. “Her leadership creates more leaders, be they the athletes who have the opportunity to play for her or the coaches who learn from her and receive her mentorship.”   

Glass’ roots are in one of the most accomplished athletic families in Michigan high school history.

Her father Larry Glass coached Northwestern University’s men’s basketball program from 1963-69, and later took over the Leland girls basketball program and led the Comets to a 388-110 record and three straight Class D Finals championships (1980-82) over two tenures from 1977-91 and 2000-05. Laurie’s sister Rebecca McKee played basketball at Leland and Michigan State University, and her brother Michael Glass played basketball at Lansing Community College before also becoming a high school and college coach.

Laurie also coached and parented arguably the most accomplished volleyball player – and perhaps top female athlete across all sports – in Michigan high school history. Her daughter Alisha Glass-Childress graduated from Leland in 2006 with national records for career kills, aces and blocks, and the first two still top those respective lists. Alisha, also an all-state basketball player, went on to star on the volleyball court at Penn State and as the U.S. Olympic team setter in 2016 in helping that team to the bronze medal.

Larry Glass’ lessons still ring true as Laurie passes them on to another generation. One of her favorite sayings from her father was “you can’t take money out of the bank until you put money in” – in essence, a coach can’t expect athletes to accept criticism or a hard ask if that coach first hasn’t invested in them. Another of her dad’s themes involved making sure players learned fundamentals at young ages and improved on them at all levels, whether they won games or not during those early years. As one of his middle school coaches, that stuck with her, and it remains a basic component of her coaching.

“I’ve always said that we compete with teams that are way more athletic, have all the things on paper that should beat us. And the fact that we know how to be a really good team is what allows us to beat people who on paper should be better than us,” Laurie Glass said. “I’ve always valued the time spent on culture and team because that’s the advantage we hold. We’re never going to be the tallest or most talented – Alisha being the anomaly, of course.”

Laurie Glass has served on the MIVCA Executive Board, including as president, and is a member of the MHSCA and American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA). Locally, her program annually hosts the Forever Dig Abby match in honor of former player Abby Gross, who died after a fight against cancer in 2015. Proceeds most years go to benefit another community member battling the disease, and this past season went to a fund for efforts related to ovarian cancer.  

Glass has served nearly 35 years in education and retired from her duties as a behavior intervention specialist and special education teacher in the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District in 2019. She has returned to the school setting, however, and is in her second year as a behavior intervention specialist at Leland.

Glass earned a bachelor’s degree in special education with an endorsement in emotional impairment from Western Michigan University in 1988, and has done master-level coursework in education administration and technology. She also is a certified instructor for the Crisis Prevention Institute. Glass first attended Grand Valley State University and played a season of volleyball before transferring. (NOTE: Glass also coached the Kalamazoo Central varsity for two seasons during the mid-1980s. Those records are unavailable currently but will be added to her overall record when research is complete.)

Past Women In Sports Leadership Award Winners

1990 – Carol Seavoy, L’Anse 
1991 – Diane Laffey, Harper Woods
1992 – Patricia Ashby, Scotts
1993 – Jo Lake, Grosse Pointe
1994 – Brenda Gatlin, Detroit
1995 – Jane Bennett, Ann Arbor
1996 – Cheryl Amos-Helmicki, Huntington Woods
1997 – Delores L. Elswick, Detroit
1998 – Karen S. Leinaar, Delton
1999 – Kathy McGee, Flint 
2000 – Pat Richardson, Grass Lake
2001 – Suzanne Martin, East Lansing
2002 – Susan Barthold, Kentwood
2003 – Nancy Clark, Flint
2004 – Kathy Vruggink Westdorp, Grand Rapids 
2005 – Barbara Redding, Capac
2006 – Melanie Miller, Lansing
2007 – Jan Sander, Warren Woods
2008 – Jane Bos, Grand Rapids
2009 – Gail Ganakas, Flint; Deb VanKuiken, Holly
2010 – Gina Mazzolini, Lansing
2011 – Ellen Pugh, West Branch; Patti Tibaldi, Traverse City
2012 – Janet Gillette, Comstock Park
2013 – Barbara Beckett, Traverse City
2014 – Teri Reyburn, DeWitt
2015 – Jean LaClair, Bronson
2016 – Betty Wroubel, Pontiac
2017 – Dottie Davis, Ann Arbor
2018 – Meg Seng, Ann Arbor
2019 – Kris Isom, Adrian
2020 – Nikki Norris, East Lansing
2021 – Dorene Ingalls, St. Ignace
2022 – Lori Hyman, Livonia

PHOTOS (Top) Leland coach Laurie Glass confers with one of her players during the 2019 Division 4 Final at Kellogg Arena. (Middle) Glass passes the championship trophy to her team after the Comets won the 2015 Class D title.