Preview: Setting Out to Make History
November 15, 2017
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
There are some clear favorites heading into this MHSAA Volleyball Finals weekend at Battle Creek’s Kellogg Arena.
Three reigning champions are back from a year ago. Two of those are among the three top-ranked teams still in play. But 12 others are aiming to show that rankings and past history won’t matter this time around.
Below is this weekend’s schedule:
Class A Semifinals – Thursday
Farmington Hills Mercy vs. Bloomfield Hills Marian, 4:30 p.m.
DeWitt vs. Novi, 6:30 p.m.
Class B Semifinals - Friday
Lake Odessa Lakewood vs. Livonia Ladywood, 4:30 p.m.
Pontiac Notre Dame Prep vs. Fruitport, 6:30 p.m.
Class C Semifinals – Friday
Wixom St. Catherine vs. Laingsburg, Noon
Bronson vs. Calumet, 2 p.m.
Class D Semifinals - Thursday
Munising vs. Fowler, Noon
Plymouth Christian Academy vs. Rogers City, 2 p.m.
Finals – Saturday
Class A, 2 p.m.
Class B, 4 p.m.
Class C, Noon
Class D, 10 a.m.
Click for links to all results from this season’s tournament plus information on live broadcasts of all 12 matches this weekend on MHSAA.tv and MHSAANetwork.com. Below is a glance at all 16 contenders, with statistics through last week's Regional Finals unless noted.
BLOOMFIELD HILLS MARIAN
Record/rank: 44-12-1, No. 7
Coach: Lauren Duquette, first season (44-12-1)
League finish: Second in Detroit Catholic League Central
Championship history: Class A champions 2010 and 2009, five runner-up finishes.
Best wins: 3-0 (Quarterfinal) and 2-1 over honorable mention Midland, 3-0 over No. 8 Clarkston in the Regional Final, 3-1 over honorable mention Rochester Hills Stoney Creek in the Regional Semifinal, 2-1 over No. 5 Lake Orion, 2-0 over honorable mention Utica Eisenhower, 2-1 over No. 10 Monroe, 2-1, 2-0, 2-0 and 2-1 over honorable mention Macomb Dakota, 3-0 over Class B No. 1 Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, 2-1 over Class D No. 1 Plymouth Christian Academy, 2-1 over Class C No. 2 Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central.
Players to watch: Lauren Wenzel, 6-2 sr. M; Maggie DePorre, 5-11 sr. M; Maddie Dowd, 5-10 jr. S. (Statistics not submitted).
Finals forecast: Marian took another step this fall under first-year coach Duquette, a former standout at Clinton Township Chippewa Valley and Oakland University and coach for the previous six seasons at Rochester High. Five starters came back from last year’s Quarterfinal team that fell to eventual champion Novi, led by Wenzel – who made the all-state third team as a junior and will continue her career next season at Notre Dame. DePorre and Dowd also were all-region picks a year ago. Dowd has committed to play at Georgetown after high school and DePorre has signed with Hillsdale College.
Record/rank: 45-4, No. 4
Coach: Christy Thelen, 10th season (404-90-8)
League finish: First in Capital Area Activities Conference Red
Championship history: Has never played in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 3-0 over No. 3 Grand Rapids Christian in the Quarterfinal, 3-0 (Regional Final), 2-0, 2-0 and 2-0 over honorable mention Richland Gull Lake, 3-1 over honorable mention Mattawan in the Regional Semifinal, 2-0 over honorable mention Lowell, 2-0 over No. 7 Bloomfield Hills Marian, 2-1 over No. 1 Novi, 2-0 over honorable mention East Grand Rapids, 2-1 over honorable mention Macomb Dakota.
Players to watch: Brooke Binkley, 5-6 sr. S (1,192 assists, 349 digs); Grace George, 5-10 sr. OH (519 kills, 356 digs); Desiree Becker, 6-2 jr. MH (387 kills, .360 hitting %, 148 blocks, 51 aces).
Finals forecast: DeWitt will play in its first Semifinal since 2000 in Class B after finally breaking through following fourth-straight league and District titles. Becker, Binkley, George and senior libero Stephanie Starr all were all-region picks last season, and Becker is considered one of the state’s top juniors. The Panthers are among the few that have beaten reigning champ Novi, downing the Wildcats and Marian at Novi’s tournament in September. DeWitt also has wins over Class B No. 6 Marshall and No. 9 Freeland and still-impressive losses to Class A No. 1 Rockford, No. 5 Lake Orion and No. 6 Farmington Hills Mercy.
FARMINGTON HILLS MERCY
Record/rank: 50-7-1, No. 6
Coach: Loretta Vogel, ninth season (record N/A)
League finish: First in Detroit Catholic League Central
Championship history: Class A runner-up 2010.
Best wins: 3-1 (Quarterfinal) and 2-0 over honorable mention New Baltimore Anchor Bay, 3-1 and 3-2 over No. 7 Bloomfield Hills Marian, 2-1 over No. 3 Grand Rapids Christian, 2-0 over No. 4 DeWitt, 2-0, 2-0 and 2-0 over No. 8 Clarkston, 2-0 and 2-0 over No. 5 Lake Orion, 2-0 and 2-0 over honorable mention Rochester Hills Stoney Creek, 2-0 and 2-0 over honorable mention Macomb Dakota, 2-0 over honorable mention Utica Eisenhower, 2-0 over No. 10 Monroe, 2-0 over Class B No. 1 Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, 2-1 over Class C No. 2 Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central.
Players to watch: Jess Mruzik, 6-1 soph. OH; Lauren Hunter, 5-11 sr. OH; Julia Bishop, 5-9 fr. S. (Statistics not submitted.)
Finals forecast: Mercy is back at the Semifinals for the first time since its championship match run in 2010, led by one of the state’s winningest coaches but also with a lot of help from standout underclassmen. Vogel is in her 40th season coaching overall and has more than 1,000 career wins, and she brings a lineup that includes Mruzik and two freshmen starters. Mruzik – who already has committed to play college volleyball at University of Michigan – made the all-state third team last season, and Hunter earned an honorable mention.
Record/rank: 55-3, No. 2
Coach: Jennifer Cottrill, sixth season (284-24-2)
League finish: First in Kensington Lakes Activities Association Gold and overall
Championship history: Class A champion 2016 and 2015, runner-up 2014.
Best wins: 3-0 over honorable mention Temperance Bedford in the Quarterfinal, 3-0 (District Final), 2-0, 2-0 and 3-0 over No. 9 Northville, 2-0 over No. 7 Bloomfield Hills Marian, 2-0 and 2-0 over No. 8 Clarkston, 2-0 over honorable mention Macomb Dakota, 2-0 over No. 10 Monroe, 2-0 over Class C No. 2 Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central, 2-0 over Class D No. 1 Plymouth Christian Academy, 2-0 over Class D No. 2 Leland.
Players to watch: Erin O’Leary, 5-10 sr. S (1,451 assists, 207 kills, 307 digs, 93 aces); Abryanna Cannon, 6-1 sr. OH (507 kills, .401 hitting %, 322 digs); Kathryn Ellison, 6-1 sr. OH (325 kills, .325 hitting %, 327 digs).
Finals forecast: The two-time reigning Class A champions have been among favorites all season for obvious reasons. O’Leary was named Miss Volleyball earlier this week and Cannon also was a candidate; they are headed next season to Michigan and Northwestern, respectively, while Ellison will play at Kent State. The losses came to DeWitt, Bedford and Lake Orion, and the Wildcats avenged the Bedford defeat Tuesday and can avenge the DeWitt defeat Thursday. Junior Jaeda Porter, senior Savanna Frick and sophomore Shannon Jennings all also have at least 130 kills while hitting at least .300.
Record/rank: 36-17-4, honorable mention
Coach: Nicole Bayle, 10th season (367-152-5)
League finish: Second in Ottawa-Kent Conference Black
Championship history: Three MHSAA titles (most recent 2011), four runner-up finishes.
Best wins: 3-1 over honorable mention Cadillac in the Quarterfinal, 3-1 over honorable mention Grand Rapids Catholic Central in the Regional Semifinal, 3-0 over No. 8 Spring Lake in the District opener, 2-1 over Class A honorable mention Midland, 2-0 over Class C No. 9 Traverse City St. Francis.
Players to watch: Kailey Carmean, 5-7 jr. S; Jordyn Carlyle, 5-11 jr. MH; Kylie Oberlin, 5-11 jr. MH. (Statistics not submitted.)
Finals forecast: Fruitport has had one of the strongest traditions on the west side of the state going back to when Bayle starred two decades ago, and she has the Trojans back in the Semifinals for the first time since leading them to back-to-back titles in 2010 and 2011. She also has only one senior – defensive specialist Chloe Kern – meaning this could be the first of another run of trips to the season’s final weekend. Fruitport has won 12 straight matches since falling during the regular season to Spring Lake, which it then defeated to start the District.
LAKE ODESSA LAKEWOOD
Record/rank: 46-5-2, No. 3
Coach: Kellie Rowland, 23rd season (1,026-153-7)
League finish: First in Greater Lansing Activities Conference
Championship history: Class B champion 2012, three runner-up finishes.
Best wins: 3-2 over No. 4 Niles in the Quarterfinal, 3-0 over No. 6 Marshall in the Regional Final, 2-0 over honorable mention Grand Rapids West Catholic, 2-0 over honorable mention Fruitport, 2-0 and 2-0 over honorable mention Grand Rapids Catholic Central, 2-1 over Class A honorable mention Hudsonville, 2-1 over Class A No. 3 Grand Rapids Christian, 2-0 over Class C No. 4 Schoolcraft, 3-0 over Class A honorable mention Lowell.
Players to watch: Breanna Wickerink, 5-9 sr. MB (387 kills .479 hitting %, 106 blocks, 58 aces); Alivia Benedict, 5-9 sr. OH (285 kills, 61 aces, 73 blocks, 324 digs); Kayla Sauers, 5-5 sr. S (1,232 assists, 328 digs, 98 aces).
Finals forecast: Lakewood was last season’s Class B runner-up and has played in the championship match three of the last five seasons. Five seniors start; Wickerink made the all-state first team last season and Benedict made all-region, and they are joined as well up front by 6-2 freshman middle Aubrey O’Gorman (292 kills, .392 hitting percentage, 176 blocks). The Vikings have won 15 straight matches since falling to Class A No. 1 Rockford during the regular season, and have given up only three sets total during the run.
Record/rank: 23-5-1, unranked
Coach: Kathryn Chinavare, second season (35-14-3)
League finish: Tied for third in Detroit Catholic League Central
Championship history: Lower Peninsula Class A champion 1989 and 1988, runner-up 1990.
Best wins: 2-0 over honorable mention Ida, 3-2 over Class A honorable mention Fenton, 2-1 over Class C No. 10 Wixom St. Catherine, 3-0 over Class D No. 1 Plymouth Christian Academy.
Players to watch: Monique Lamoureux, 5-3 jr. S (807 assists, 54 aces, 241 digs); Madison Benoit, 5-9 jr. OH/DS (238 kills, .372 hitting %, 280 digs); Madeline Hudson, 5-11 jr. MH (186 kills, .355 hitting %).
Finals forecast: Ladywood is returning to the Semifinals for the first time since back-to-back trips in 2009 and 2010, nearly doubling its wins from a year ago in this second season under former Livonia Franklin standout Chinavare. Ladywood navigated the Catholic League Central behind Class A semifinalists Marian and Mercy, with three of its five losses to those opponents and a fourth to Class C semifinalist St. Catherine. Benoit made the all-region team last season.
PONTIAC NOTRE DAME PREP
Record/rank: 62-2-2, No. 1
Coach: Betty Wroubel, 24th season (989-216-94)
League finish: Independent
Championship history: Two MHSAA titles (most recent 2013).
Best wins: 3-0 (Regional Final), 2-0 and 2-0 over No. 2 North Branch, 3-0 over No. 7 Marysville in the Regional Semifinal, 2-0 over No. 6 Marshall, 2-0 and 2-0 over honorable mention Cadillac, 2-0 over Class A No. 8 Clarkston, 2-0 over Class A honorable mention Midland, 2-1, 2-0 and 3-0 over Class A No. 7 Bloomfield Hills Marian, 2-1 over Class A No. 5 Lake Orion, 2-0 over Class A honorable mention Temperance Bedford, 3-0 over Class A No. 6 Farmington Hills Mercy, 2-0 over Class A No. 3 Grand Rapids Christian, 2-1 over Class C No. 1 Bronson, 2-0 over Class C No. 2 Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central, 2-0 over Class C No. 4 Schoolcraft.
Players to watch: Madeline Chinn, 6-2 jr. OH (621 kills, .417 hitting %, 115 blocks, 77 aces); Gabrielle Shilling, 6-1 sr. MH (330 kills, .437 hitting %, 165 blocks); Natalie Risi, 6-0 jr. OH/S (431 kills, .340 hitting %, 162 aces, 422 digs).
Finals forecast: Notre Dame Prep’s resume speaks for itself. The only losses came to Class A Lake Orion and Farmington Hills Mercy, and both have been avenged. The Irish downed No. 2 North Branch in the Regional Final for the third time this season and have wins over eight top-10 teams in either Class A or B plus the top-ranked in Class C. Chinn made the all-state first team last season, while Risi made the second and Shilling earned an honorable mention. They are set by senior Lauren Burnick (1,072 assists) and entering the week also had gotten 122 blocks and 315 kills from 5-11 sophomore hitter Taylor Garrigan-Raiola. Total, Wroubel has more than 1,400 wins since starting her first coaching job in 1978-79 at Clawson. Chinn has committed to sign with Purdue, while Shilling will continue at Rhode Island, Risi will sign next year with Ball State and Burnick will play next at Lake Erie College.
Record/rank: 58-9-2, No. 1
Coach: Jean LaClair, 18th season (801-301-75)
League finish: First in Big 8 Conference
Championship history: Three MHSAA titles (most recent 2016), one runner-up finish.
Best wins: 3-1 over No. 2 Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central in the Quarterfinal, 3-2 over No. 4 Schoolcraft in the Regional Final, 3-0 over honorable mention Mendon in the District Final, 2-0 over Class B No. 4 Niles, 2-0 over Class B No. 6 Marshall, 2-0 over Class B honorable mention Buchanan.
Players to watch: Keona Salesman, 6-0 soph. OH (614 kills, .375 hitting %, 79 aces, 408 digs); Ashton Wronikowski, 5-11 jr. M (449 kills, .377 hitting %, 117 blocks, 90 aces); Kiana Mayer, 6-0 sr. S (1,656 assists, 125 blocks, 89 aces); Kiera Lasky, 5-5 jr. L (132 aces, 709 digs).
Finals forecast: Bronson has won the last two Class C championships and been ranked No. 1 this fall since the second poll was released at the end of August. Mayer and Lasky were all-state first teamers last season, while Wronikowski made the second and Salesman the third – and only two of the eight players in the regular rotation graduate after this season. The nine losses came against six Class A and three Class B opponents – and the Vikings have won 20 of their last 21 matches. Mayer was a Miss Volleyball candidate, and her assists heading into the week already ranked as the fourth-most for one season in MHSAA rally-scoring era history.
Record/rank: 44-6-2, No. 8
Coach: Matt Laho, first season (44-6-2)
League finish: First in Western Peninsula Athletic Conference
Championship history: Class C runner-up 2008.
Best wins: 3-1 (District Semifinal), 3-2 and 2-1 over Houghton, 2-0 over Class D honorable mention Bellaire, 2-1 over Class B No. 5 Kingsley, 2-1 over Traverse City Central.
Players to watch: Lea Bjorn, 5-9 sr. OH (606 kills, 77 aces, 447 digs); Celia Kiilunen, 5-8 jr. OH (249 kills, 69 aces, 180 digs) Brea Johnson, 5-5 sr. S/RS (82 aces, 348 kills).
Finals forecast: Calumet is making its second straight trip to the Semifinals and this time under former assistant Laho, who took over for retiring Lisa Twardzik after last season. Bjorn was an all-region pick last season and has emerged as a force this fall, leading a team that has given up only one set in six postseason matches and 29 sets total this season while also taking a pair of losses to Class A honorable mention Midland and another to Class B honorable mention Cadillac. The Copper Kings have won 16 straight matches since falling to Class B No. 5 Kingsley in their second meeting this season (Calumet won the first).
Record/rank: 40-17-3, honorable mention
Coach: Tennille Whitmore, 17th season (353-247-36)
League finish: First in Central Michigan Athletic Conference
Championship history: Has never played in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 3-0 over honorable mention Shelby in the Quarterfinal, 3-1 (Regional Semifinal), 2-0 and 2-0 over honorable mention Saranac, 2-0 over honorable mention Pewamo-Westphalia, 3-2 over No. 3 Brighton Charyl Stockwell in the District Final, 2-1 over honorable mention Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian, 2-1 and 2-1 over Class D No. 6 Fowler, 2-0 and 2-0 over Class D honorable mention Muskegon Catholic Central, 3-0 over Corunna.
Players to watch: Maya Ferland, 6-0 sr. M (500 kills, .366 hitting %, 51 aces, 138 blocks, 488 digs); Alex Randall, 6-0 sr. M (350 kills, 55 aces, 105 blocks, 422 digs); Grace Gregg, 5-4 sr. S (850 assists, 272 digs).
Finals forecast: Laingsburg turned its third straight trip to the Quarterfinals into its first Semifinal berth and as one of two teams – joining Fowler in Class D – from the CMAC heading to Kellogg Arena. Ferland made the all-state first team last season in leading the Wolfpack on a run that ended with a loss to eventual champion Bronson. Senior 5-10 Sophie Strieff gives Laingsburg another big hitter; she had 355 kills plus a team-high 565 digs entering the week. The Wolfpack loaded the start of its schedule with a number of larger opponents and also took defeats this season to No. 9 Traverse City St. Francis and Class D No. 1 Plymouth Christian Academy.
WIXOM ST. CATHERINE
Record/rank: 40-5-2, No. 10
Coach: Malia Gabel, first season (40-5-2)
League finish: Second in Detroit Catholic League AA
Championship history: Has never played in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 3-0 over No. 6 Unionville-Sebewaing in the Quarterfinal, 3-1 over Madison Heights Bishop Foley in the Regional Semifinal, 3-0 over Livonia Ladywood, 3-0 over Livonia Clarenceville.
Players to watch: Emma Schlagheck, 5-10 jr. OPP (385 kills, .550 hitting %, 105 blocks); Payton Porter, 5-11 jr. OH (315 kills, .450 hitting %, 306 digs); Katie Grose, 5-9 jr. S (1,032 assists, 109 aces, 90 blocks).
Finals forecast: St. Catherine won its first Regional title last week after prepping during the regular season against a number of Class A and B opponents. The Stars also last week avenged their lone league loss to AA champion Bishop Foley, and Bishop Foley has been the only one of five postseason opponents to win a set on St. Catherine. Porter earned all-state honorable mention last season, and Grose also was all-region. Junior 5-10 Maryann Alexander has provided another big block in the middle with 170 stops entering the week.
Record/rank: 37-11-5, No. 6
Coach: Patty Feldpausch, ninth season (177-210-41)
League finish: Second in Central Michigan Athletic Conference
Championship history: Has never played in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 3-0 over honorable mention Southfield Christian in the Quarterfinal, 2-0 and 2-0 over No. 10 Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart, 3-2 over Class C honorable mention Saranac, 2-1 over Class C honorable mention Laingsburg, 3-1 and 2-0 over Class C honorable mention Pewamo-Westphalia.
Players to watch: Kennedy Koenigsknecht, 5-3 sr. S (904 assists, 59 aces, 205 digs); Sidney Horak, 5-7 sr. OH (259 kills, 370 digs); Brooklyn Witgen, 5-9 jr. M (265 kills, 91 blocks).
Finals forecast: Fowler will play in its first Semifinal after winning its second Quarterfinal appearance ever and first since 2003. Feldpausch – who led rival Pewamo-Westphalia to a Class C runner-up finish in 1994 and has 663 wins over 24 seasons – has brought the Eagles back after two straight sub-.500 finishes. In fact, they had only 12 wins a year ago. It’s an even more impressive turnaround considering Fowler came out of a CMAC that has a team in the Class C Semifinals and had two more earn honorable mentions in the final Class C rankings. Junior Marissa Snyder has provided more valuable hitting with 254 kills plus 361 digs entering the week.
Record/rank: 27-6-4, honorable mention
Coach: Ted Williams, seventh season (first of second tenure, record N/A)
League finish: Tied for first in Skyline Central Conference
Championship history: Has never played in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 3-1 over No. 7 Rudyard in the Quarterfinal, 3-2 over Carney-Nadeau in the Regional Final, 3-0 over Eben Junction Superior Central in the District opener, 3-2 over Crystal Falls Forest Park.
Players to watch: Kianne Wendt, 5-9 sr. OH (350 kills, .453 kill %, 69 aces, 298 digs); Michaela Werner, 5-10 jr. MB (73 blocks, 47 aces); Emily Contreras, 5-6 jr. S (474 assists). (Statistics through Regional Semifinal.)
Finals forecast: Munising also is making its first Semifinal appearance after winning its first Regional title. The Mustangs have given up only three sets over six postseason matches, and avenged a late regular-season loss to Superior Central immediately to start District play. Wendt earned all-region last season and also gets hitting help from junior Daryn Johnson (196 kills). Williams returned the program this fall after previously coaching the varsity from 1999-2005.
PLYMOUTH CHRISTIAN ACADEMY
Record/rank: 43-8-3, No. 1
Coach: DJ Kellogg, third season (114-24-7)
League finish: First in Michigan Independent Athletic Conference
Championship history: Class D champion 2016, runner-up 2010.
Best wins: 3-0 over No. 3 North Adams-Jerome in the Regional Final, 3-0 and 2-0 over honorable mention Southfield Christian, 2-1 over Class A honorable mention Mattawan, 2-0 over Class C No. 3 Brighton Charyl Stockwell, 2-0 over Class C honorable mention Laingsburg.
Players to watch: Grace Kellogg, 5-9 sr. OH/DS (463 kills, .318 hitting %, 77 aces, 555 digs); Gabriella Kellogg, 5-9 soph. OH/DS (363 kills, 402 digs, 68 aces); Abigail Pray, 5-4 sr. S (875 assists, 60 aces).
Finals forecast: The reigning Class D champion has been ranked No. 1 all season long with Grace and Gabriella Kellogg and Pray also playing substantial roles last season – the Kelloggs led the team in kills and Pray led in assists in the championship match win. Grace Kellogg made the all-state first team, and Gabriella made the second. The Eagles also prepped this fall by testing themselves against some of the best in the state regardless of size, taking losses to Class A No. 2 Novi, No. 3 Grand Rapids Christian and No. 7 Bloomfield Hills Marian among others. Plymouth Christian has given up only one set during the playoffs, in Tuesday’s Quarterfinal to Battle Creek St. Philip.
Record/rank: 38-8-3, No. 8
Coach: Jacqueline Quaine, 10th season (337-110-38)
League finish: First in North Star League
Championship history: Lower Peninsula Class C champion 1988, runner-up 1987. <
2023 WISL Award Honoree Glass Continuing to Create Leaders On Court & Off
By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com 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 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.