Performance: Bronson's Kiera Lasky

September 21, 2018

Kiera Lasky
Bronson senior – Volleyball

The Vikings’ three-year starting libero has been part of three Class C championships and has her team pointing toward another run. Lasky had 16 digs, an ace and 12 passes in serve receive without an error as Division 3 No. 2 Bronson downed Division 1 No. 6 Battle Creek Lakeview to win the final of last weekend’s Portage Northern Invitational – earning Lasky the Michigan Army National Guard “Performance of the Week.”

Lasky is one of 10 finalists for this season’s statewide Miss Volleyball Award after earning all-state as a junior and sophomore and all-region as a freshman. Playing libero, she has 293 digs, 56 aces and 33 assists this season and has passed the ball 302 times in serve receive with only 19 errors. During her career, Bronson is 194-31-11 including 27-3 this fall. She set her school record for career digs as a junior, and her total now stands at 2,488. The Vikings beat Lakeview in three games at Portage after sweeping Wayland, Otsego and Stevensville Lakeshore. For the day, Lasky finished with 70 digs, 10 aces and seven assists.

A three-sport athlete as a freshman and sophomore, Lasky also is an all-league basketball player who has helped that team to multiple District titles. She also played softball her first two years of high school and is considering running track next spring. Lasky will sign this fall to continue her volleyball career at Davenport University, and she carries a 3.8 grade-point average. She’s worked on her family’s flower farm since the start of elementary school, and she’s interested in studying business management and marketing and starting her own business down the road.

Coach Jean LaClair said:Kiera is a workhorse, both in sports and in life. This shows not only in academics, but in her successes both on and off the court. Anyone would tell you that she is a tremendous person, who goes about her business, not arguing calls, not complaining about anything –   just going out and getting the job done. She has the ability to read the game very well, always putting herself in the best position to make the play. She makes what most would consider a spectacular dig look easy because she puts herself in the right position. She is willing to cover more of the court when a teammate is struggling, and has the confidence in her game to do this. Kiera has been the libero on three state championship teams – she runs the back row, and has since her freshman season. Kiera will be missed when she moves on to play in college, but she is doing a great job training our younger players on the work ethic and attitudes needed to keep this program moving forward.”

Performance Point: “Just to be able to play a Class A team and perform well against them is just a win in itself,” Lasky said of the Lakeview match. “We just played really, really well, and we were smart, and it was just exciting to see because we’re not to our full potential yet and it was really cool to see how well we could play when it’s all put together. … Everything we do revolves around our block. So our blockers, our front row, played extremely well. Our middle senior Ashton (Wronikowski) really took control up there and made sure she was closing the block, which makes it a lot easier on the back row because the block takes away a certain part of the court. We could all get in our positions and just dig the ball and do what we’re supposed to do. And we have a lot of hustle plays, and the effort was definitely there. So we just did our job and dug the ball.”

In the running: “I honestly didn’t think I was going to be on (the Miss Volleyball finalist list), so when I found out I was excited. I was like, ‘Oh man, this is an honor.’ But in all honesty, it’s not just my award, it’s the team award because I’d never be able to be where I am without our team. I wouldn’t be half the player I am today without my team and without my coach. At Bronson, we’re all about team chemistry and 100-100 – going 100 percent 100 percent of the time. We know what we’re supposed to do, when we’re supposed to do it, and we hold each other accountable.”

Back row driver: “When I was younger, I was dead set that I was going to be an outside (hitter). I guess my growth just got stunted, so I ended up 5-5, and that’s where I got put. … Being a libero, you don’t get all of the limelight, you don’t get all of the fame. But I think it’s extremely important. It’s kinda like being a quarterback on the football field. You’re telling people what to do, where to go. They just look to you when they don’t know. Especially on my team, I take a leadership role, and so I find it extremely important where other people might not. It’s a role, that if there wasn’t one, I don’t think a team would be as successful.”

Play like a champion: “What I take away most from (winning three titles) is just from year to year, as I’ve gotten older, we tend to do a lot of the same things. We have these traditions before every game. We go, we’ll stretch, we’ll sit in a circle, we’ll discuss the scouting reports because we do scouting reports whenever we watch film – so we watch film about every single team that we play. That’s a big part about why we’ve won, because we know our opponents – we almost know what they’re going to do before they do it. We know them because Coach’s husband Duane goes and he scouts every single team for Districts and Regionals, so we’re thankful to have him around and for doing things that other teams don’t really get the opportunity to do. That’s a big part, and just taking away from the state championships, people kinda look at you in a different way. They’re like, ‘Oh man, they’re state champs.’ So you’ve really just got to set the tone and be the example, like at school; people look up to you. You always try to do the right thing. Coach always says, if there’s a piece of paper in the hallway, bend down and pick it up. Show people what they’re supposed to do.”

One big Bronson family: “I’m kinda related to half of the town. Last year my cousin Kiana (Mayer) was the setter. My sister Adyson (Lasky), who was a captain, she played outside and she was a really big role on our team. My younger sister Meagan, she’s actually the setter now on this team. The right side is also my cousin, Jolie (Smoker). There’s another DS (defensive specialist) on the team, Scyler (Cary), she’s my cousin too. (Cousin Alanna Mayer also is a returning hitter.) So there’s been a lot of relatives on the same team. It was a little frustrating sometimes, because there were three of us that were sisters and we’d kinda get in little arguments. But it would be over and done with – (and) it’s been a lot of fun making memories. My other two cousins, Kylei Ratkowski played on the 2009 state championship team and Alexa (Ratkowski) who sets at Trine, she was the setter my freshman year. So there’s been a lot of us who went through the program, and there’s more coming up.”

- Geoff Kimmerly, Second Half editor

Every week during the 2018-19 school year, Second Half and the Michigan Army National Guard will recognize a “Performance of the Week" from among the MHSAA's 750 member high schools.

The Michigan Army National Guard provides trained and ready forces in support of the National Military Strategy, and responds as needed to state, local, and regional emergencies to ensure peace, order, and public safety. The Guard adds value to our communities through continuous interaction. National Guard soldiers are part of the local community. Guardsmen typically train one weekend per month and two weeks in the summer. This training maintains readiness when needed, be it either to defend our nation's freedom or protect lives and property of Michigan citizens during a local natural disaster. 

Past 2018-19 honorees

September 13: Judy Rector, Hanover-Horton cross country - Read

PHOTOS: (Top) Bronson's Kiera Lasky digs during Saturday's match against Wayland at the Portage Northern Invitational. (Middle) Lasky serves during last season's Class C championship match win over Laingsburg. (Top photo courtesy of the Sturgis Journal.)

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.