Preview: Stage Set for Repeat Greatness

November 19, 2014

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Two reigning champions will return this weekend to the MHSAA's Volleyball Finals at Battle Creek's Kellogg Arena.

One features this season's Miss Volleyball. The other has earned an opportunity to define dominance like no other volleyball team in MHSAA history. 

Pontiac Notre Dame Prep's Katherine Carlson will attempt to lead the Fighting Irish to a repeat in Class B, while Battle Creek St. Philip did not enter the Class D tournament as the favorite but can leave with a record ninth straight Finals championship. 

See below for breakdowns of all 16 teams playing this weekend, beginning with Class B and C Semifinals on Thursday. Click for the full schedule and also for the broadcast schedule and links to all matches available live on

Class A

52-8, No. 3
Coach: Aaron Smaka, eighth season (300-128-4) 
League finish: First in Ottawa-Kent Conference Red
Championship game history: Has never played in an MHSAA Final. 
Best wins: 3-0 over No. 7 East Kentwood, 2-0, 2-0 and 2-1 over honorable mention Holland West Ottawa, 2-0, 3-2 and 2-0 over honorable mention Byron Center, 2-0, 2-0 and 2-0 over honorable mention Portage Central, 2-0 over Class B No. 2 North Branch, 2-0 over Class B No. 10 Grand Rapids South Christian.
Players to watch: Emily Lachmann, 6-0 jr. OH (443  kills, 121 aces, 454 digs); Katie Cole, 5-9 soph. S (1,731 assists, 292 digs); Autumn Monsma, 5-10 sr. OH  (494 kills, 409 digs); Amy Kober, 6-1 sr. OP (326 kills, 72 blocks, 329 digs).
Finals forecast: Grand Haven is back in the Semifinals for  the second time in three seasons and has won at least 42 matches in all three. Four hitters are at least 6-foot tall, with junior middle Ally Knoll leading the team with 109 blocks. Mason in the Quarterfinal was the only team to take a set from Grand Haven during the postseason. The run is even more impressive considering the team graduated three all-staters after last season.

53-5-1, No. 2
Coach: Jennifer Cottrill, third season (124-18-2) 
League finish: First in Kensington Lakes Activities Association (Kensington Conference and overall)
Championship game history: Has never played in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 2-1 over No. 4 Lake Orion, 2-1 over No. 1 Temperance-Bedford, 2-0 and 2-0 over No. 8 Romeo, 2-0 over honorable mention Birmingham Seaholm, 3-1 over honorable mention White Lake Lakeland in Regional Final.
Players to watch: Victoria Iacobelli, 5-9 jr. OH (604 kills, 516 digs); Paulina Iacobelli, 5-9 jr. OH (465 kills, 62 aces, 601 digs); Erin O’Leary, 5-10 fr. S (1,305 assists, 61 aces, 35 blocks).
Finals forecast: Novi is back in the Semifinals for the second time in program history; the Wildcats also advanced in 2007 before falling in a five-set match to Bloomfield Hills Marian. This team is built for multiple runs – its top two hitters and setter should return in 2015, and they’re surrounded in the starting lineup this season by three seniors and a senior libero. Cottrill brings a variety of experience as a former four-year starter at Eastern Michigan University and coach at Ypsilanti Lincoln, Pinckney and Lakeland.

43-8-1, No. 8
Coach: Stacy Williams, ninth season (235-132-33) 
League finish: First in Macomb Area Conference Red
Championship game history: Lower Peninsula Class A runner-up 1997.
Best wins: 2-0 over No.6 Bloomfield Hills Marian, 2-1, 2-0, 2-0 over honorable mention White Lake Lakeland; 2-1 over honorable mention Birmingham Seaholm, 3-1 over No. 5 Clarkston in Regional Final, 3-1 over honorable mention Farmington Hills Mercy in Quarterfinal, 3-0 and 3-2 over Class B No. 9 Marysville.
Players to watch: Gia Milana, 6-1 jr. OH/MB (472 kills, .440 hitting %, 65 aces, 232 digs); Jodie Kelly, 5-10 soph. OH/L (319 kills, 230 digs, 40 blocks); Lauren Korth, 5-10 sr. S (1,006 assists, 217 kills, 54 aces.
Finals forecast: Romeo took the next step this fall after making the Quarterfinals in 2013, with this Semifinal appearance its first since 1999. Milana was an all-state third-team selection as a sophomore and is the top hitter in a lineup with four starters at .300 success or better. The Bulldogs have won 15 straight matches since a loss to No. 2 Novi and also own a two-game sweep of Class D Semifinalist Waterford Our Lady.

71-5-2, No. 1
Coach: Jodi Manore, 30th season (1,814-298-52) 
League finish: First in Southeastern Conference
Championship game history: Three MHSAA titles (most recent 2005), five runner-up finishes. 
Best wins: 2-0 over No. 4 Lake Orion, 2-1 and 2-0 over No. 6 Bloomfield Hills Marian, 2-0 over No. 9 Mattawan, 2-0 and 2-0 over honorable mention White Lake Lakeland, 2-1 over honorable mention Portage Central, 2-0, 3-1 and 3-2 (District Final) over honorable mention Saline, 2-0 and 2-0 over Class B No. 3 Chelsea, 2-0 and 2-0 over Class B No. 7 Mount Morris, 2-0 over Class C No. 1 Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central.
Players to watch: Nicole Rightnowar 5-11 sr. MH (575 kills, .382 hitting %, 213 blocks, 542 digs, 82 aces); Kayla Gwozdz, 5-11 sr. OH (546 kills, .375 hitting %, 555 digs); Chloe Lamb, 6-0 sr. RT (313 kills, 143 blocks); Isabelle Marciniak, 5-11 jr. S (1,591 assists, 95 aces, 370 digs) 
Finals forecast: Bedford has made the Semifinals four of the last five seasons and was runner-up in 2012 with Rightnowar and Gwozdz in the lineup. Rightnowar is a four-year standout and was a Miss Volleyball candidate this fall; she made the all-state first team as a junior and will continue her career at Indiana-Purdue at Fort Wayne. Gwozdz was an all-state second teamer last season. Manore is closing in on the MHSAA record for volleyball coaching wins, needing only 19 to break it while carrying an incredible .838 winning percentage over two tenures as coach (she also coached the University of Toledo for 14 years).  

Class B

55-8-2, unranked
Coach: Terra King, ninth season (293-201-52) 
League finish: First in Interstate 8 Conference
Championship game history: Has never played in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 3-1 over No. 6 Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard in Quarterfinal, 3-2 over Class A honorable mention DeWitt, 2-0 over Class D No. 2 Mendon, 2-0 over Class D No. 3 Battle Creek St. Philip, 2-0 and 2-0 over Class D No. 5 Waterford Our Lady, 2-0 over Class C No. 7 Concord.
Players to watch: Olivia Leson, 5-9 jr. OH (496 kills, .412 hitting %, 314 digs); Charley Andrews, 5-10 soph. MB (496 kills, .412 hitting %, 167 blocks); Katie Wade, 5-7 soph. S (606 assists, 71 aces); Edrie Ganey, 5-7 jr. S (794 assists, 301 digs, 74 aces).
Finals forecast: Harper Creek will carry its longest playoff run and first Regional title just a few miles downtown for the first time with a starting lineup featuring no seniors aside from libero Kendall Latshaw. Harper Creek has nearly doubled last season’s 29 wins and has had success in the recent past with this fall’s District title its third in five seasons. Leson earned an all-state honorable mention as a sophomore and combines with Andrews to give the Beavers two dangerous finishers for its two-setter system.

50-8, No. 5
Coach: Kellie Rowland, 17th season (871-134)
League finish: First in Greater Lansing Activities Conference
Championship game history: Class B champion 2012, Class B runner-up 1995.
Best wins: 2-0 and 3-2 (Regional Final) over No. 10 Grand Rapids South Christian, 2-0 and 3-1 (Quarterfinal) over honorable mention Ada Forest Hills Eastern, 2-0 and 2-0 over Class A No. 3 Grand Haven.
Players to watch: Vanessa Reynhout, sr. MB (573 kills, .470 hitting %, 220 blocks, 62 aces); Charlie Smith, jr. OH (212 kills, 56 blocks, 148 digs); Gabie Shellenbarger, soph. S (998 assists, 202 digs); Gracie Shellenbarger, sr. OH (228 kills, 174 digs).
Finals forecast: This lineup is much different than the one that claimed the team’s first MHSAA title two seasons ago, although Reynhout, Smith and junior libero Karly Morris did see time in that championship match win over North Branch. Lakewood's 50 wins are the second-most in six seasons since Rowland returned as coach in 2009, and Reynhout and Gracie Shellenbarger are the only seniors in the main playing group. The Vikings have won 11 straight since losing to Class A honorable mention Portage Central.

59-7-4, No. 2
Coach: James D. Fish, 15th season (859-140-44) 
League finish: First in Tri-Valley Conference East
Championship game history: Class B champion 2009, three runner-up finishes.
Best wins: 3-0, 2-1 and 2-0 (District Final) over No. 7 Mount Morris, 3-0 over honorable mention Cadillac in the Quarterfinal, 3-0 and 3-0 (District Semifinal) over honorable mention Frankenmuth, 2-1 over Class A No. 4 Lake Orion, 2-1 over Class A honorable mention Farmington Hills Mercy, 2-0 over Class A honorable mention Byron Center, 2-0 over Class A honorable mention Holland West Ottawa.
Players to watch: Laura Willson, 6-1 sr. OH (726 kills, .380 hitting %, 96 aces, 88 blocks); Victoria Severance, 6-0 sr. MH (228 kills, .355 hitting %, 82 blocks); Mady Ruhlman, 5-5 sr. L (636 digs, 278 digs); Madee Miner, 5-7 soph. S (1,241 assists, 88 aces, 257 digs); Calla McNulty, 5-11 sr. OH (89 aces, 160 kills).
Finals forecast: North Branch finished runner-up to Lakewood in 2012 and with Willson its second-best hitter in that championship match. She made the all-state first team in 2013 and was a Miss Volleyball candidate this fall. Ruhlman, Severance and McNulty also saw time in that 2012 Final and have helped the Broncos to a third straight Regional title; with a Semifinal win the team would have at least 60 for the third straight season as well.

57-5, No. 1
Coach: Betty Wroubel, 21st season (829-193-81) 
League finish: First in Detroit Catholic League Central
Championship game history: Class B champions 2013 and Fall 2007.
Best wins: 2-0 and 3-0 (Regional Final) over No. 9 Marysville, 3-0 and 3-0 (Quarterfinal) over honorable mention Dearborn Divine Child, 3-0 over No. 6 Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard, 2-0 and 2-0 over Battle Creek Harper Creek, 2-0 over Class A No. 1 Temperance-Bedford, 2-0 and 2-0 over Class C No. 7 Concord, 3-0 over Class A honorable mention Farmington Hills Mercy, 2-0 over Class A honorable mention DeWitt, 2-0 over Class C No. 9 Ubly.
Players to watch: Katherine Carlson, 5-11 sr. OH (991 kills, .527 hitting percentage, 62 blocks, 111 aces, 415 digs); Hannah Antosz, 5-7 sr. S (632 assists, 215 digs, 77 aces); Ashley Knutson, 5-7 sr. S (929 assists, 211 kills, 373 digs); Emma Kowalkowski, 5-6 jr. DS (85 aces, 806 digs).
Finals forecast: Notre Dame Prep is favored to repeat as Class B champion with three players back after earning all-state honors in 2013 including Carlson, recently named Miss Volleyball for this season. She’s over 1,000 kills for the second straight season and will continue her career at Valparaiso University. Kowalkowski made the all-state second team last season and Knutson earned an honorable mention, and Antosz also started in last season’s Final.

Class C

Record/rank: 43-8-2, No. 1
Coach: Diane E. Tuller, 17th season (593-188-51)
League finish: Tied for first in Huron League
Championship game history: Four MHSAA titles (most recent 2012), two runner-up finishes.
Best wins: 2-0 over No. 4 Morley-Stanwood, 2-1 over Class B No. 7 Mount Morris, 3-0, 2-1 and 2-0 over Class B No. 4 New Boston Huron, 2-0 over Class D No. 6 Plymouth Christian.
Players to watch: Cassandra Haut, 6-2 sr. MH (604 kills, .444 hitting %, 86 aces); Madeline Pietraniec, 5-8 sr. OH (236 kills); Sydney McGinn, 5-10 sr. S (1,206 assists, 284 digs); Skylar Iott, 6-1 jr. MH (334 kills, 75 aces, 314 digs).
Finals forecast: If the recent pattern holds, St. Mary could be unbeatable this weekend; the Kestrels also won Class C in 2012 and 2010 and are back after making the Class B Quarterfinals a year ago. Haut made the all-state first team in Class B and was a Miss Volleyball finalist this fall; she’ll continue at Eastern Michigan University. She’s also one of three starters taller than 6-foot, which allowed St. Mary to again match up well with the Class A and B teams that made up the majority of the regular-season schedule.

49-11-2, No. 3
Coach: Heather Compton, 11th season (413-109-28) 
League finish: First in Jack Pine Conference
Championship game history: Has never played in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 2-1 and 3-0 (Quarterfinal) over honorable mention Calumet, 3-0 over No. 5 Traverse City St. Francis in Regional Final, 2-0 over Class D No. 9 Onaway, 2-0 over Class D No. 1 Leland.
Players to watch: Katie Tozer, 5-10 sr. MH (500 kills, .444 hitting %, 90 aces, 89 blocks); Lauren Shores, 5-10 jr. MH (248 kills, .383 hitting %, 58 blocks); Reagan Moffit, 6-0 sr. OH (437 kills, .409 hitting %, 191 digs); Logan Hutek, 5-9 sr. S (1,250 assists, 192 kills, 204 digs).
Finals forecast: Roscommon has followed up last season’s 56-5-2 finish in Class B with its first Regional title and third District championship in nine seasons. Tozer earned an all-state honorable mention in Class B last season and remains the top hitter for a team that also has a number of impressive losses – including to Class A Clarkston, Lake Orion and Saline and Class B Mount Morris, North Branch and Chelsea.

45-10-1, No. 2
Coach: Erin Onken, third season (122-37-4) 
League finish: First in Kalamazoo Valley Association
Championship game history: Class C champion 2008.  
Best wins: 3-1 over No. 8 Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian in the Regional Final, 3-0 over  honorable mention Ravenna in the Quarterfinal.
Player to watch: Marianne  Douglas, sr. OH. (Statistics not submitted.)
Finals forecast: Schoolcraft has won Regional titles the last three seasons and took the next step after falling to Mendon in five sets in their 2013 Quarterfinal. Douglas made the all-state third team last season and is one of four senior starters. 

43-7-2, honorable mention
Coach: Teresa Rose, seventh season (238-69-29) 
League finish: First in Greater Thumb Conference West
Championship game history: Has never played in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 3-0 over No. 9 Ubly in District Semifinal, 2-1 and 3-1 (Quarterfinal) over Brown City, 2-0 over St. Louis.
Players to watch: Erica Treiber, 6-1 sr. MH (676 kills, .487 hitting %, 72 aces, 239 blocks, 511 digs); Sam Ewald, sr. MH (217 kills, 45 blocks); Morgan Thomas, sr. S (557 assists, 42 aces, 217 digs), Jessica Marker, sr. RS (124 kills, 61 assists, 71 blocks).
Finals forecast: Unionville-Sebewaing has won three straight Regional titles and is headed to the Semifinals for the third time in Rose’s seven seasons as coach – while led by one of the most intriguing players in the state. Treiber will leave the thumb to continue her career next fall at the University of Tennessee and also was a Miss Volleyball finalist this fall.

Class D

Record/rank: 51-12-4, No. 3
Coach: Vicky Groat, 17th season (960-189-80) 
League finish: First in Southern Central Athletic Association
Championship game history: 19 MHSAA titles (most recent 2013), eight runner-up finishes.
Best wins: 2-0 and 3-0 (Quarterfinal) over No. 2 Mendon, 3-1, 3-1, 2-1 and 3-0 (Regional Final) over No. 4 Camden-Frontier; 2-0, 2-0 and 2-0 over honorable mention Climax-Scotts.
Players to watch: Emily Schaub, 5-8 sr. S (1,316 assists, 146 kills, 104 aces, 419 digs); Abby McKinzie, 5-8 jr. OH (634 kills, 501 digs, 62 aces); Anna Lehouiller, 6-0 jr. MH (155 kills, 63 blocks); Megan Parker, 5-7 sr. OH (444 kills, 547 digs, 64 aces).
Finals forecast: Gone are three more all-staters from last season (that makes six over two seasons), and St. Philip is back in the Semifinals after sweeping No. 2 Mendon on Tuesday. A ninth-straight title would set an MHSAA record; the Tigers are tied with Marysville 1997-2004 for longest championship streak. Schaub made the all-state first team last season and has plenty of experience leading a title run. 

42-12-4, No. 1 
Coach: Laurie Glass, 20th season (781-241-79)
League finish: Second in Northwest Conference
Championship game history: Four MHSAA titles (most recent 2006), five runner-up finishes. 
Best wins: 3-0 over honorable mention Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart in the Quarterfinal, 2-0 and 2-0 over Class C honorable mention Charlevoix, 2-0 over Traverse City Central.
Players to watch: Maddie Trumbull, 5-10 jr. OH (520 kills, 288 digs); Eva Grobbel, 5-11 jr. MB (244 kills,35 blocks); Jessica Fleis, 5-6 sr. S (1,017 assists, 91 aces, 190 digs); Whitney Schaub, 5-4 sr. L (460 digs, 65 aces).
Finals forecast: Leland returns to the Semifinals for the second straight season after playing at least six matches against teams from all six classes – with impressive results. The Comets finished 3-2-1 against Class A teams, 5-3-1 against Class B, 14-7-1 against Class C and 19-0-1 against Class D programs. Leland graduated three players who earned all-state recognition last season, but Schaub made the third team and is one of a number of strong servers – four have at least 65 aces, and senior Erica Ongaro had a team-high 166 through the Regional.

34-16-5, No. 9
Coach: Steve Watson, 12th season (359-179-53)
League finish: First in Ski Valley Conference
Championship game history: Has never played in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 3-0 over No. 10 Pickford in the Regional Final, 3-0 over No. 8 Stephenson in the Quarterfinal.
Players to watch: Lexi Szymoniak, 5-8 sr. OH (549 kills, 83 aces, 31 blocks, 702 digs); Taylor Ehrke, 5-8 soph. S (849 assists, 125 kills, 373 digs); Elise Arkwood, 5-4 sr. MH (181 kills, 76 aces, 351 digs); Ashley LaLonde, 5-4 sr. RS (406 digs, 85 aces).
Finals forecast: Onaway is on an excellent three-year run, making its second trip to the Semifinals after winning its third league and District titles during that time. Szymoniak made the all-state second team last season and Ehrke made the third. The Cardinals have beaten two straight ranked teams to reach Battle Creek, and also split earlier this season with top-ranked Leland – the only Class D team not to fall to the Comets.

27-21-5, No. 6
Coach: Stephanie Swearingen, sixth season (137-56-23) 
League finish: First in Detroit Catholic League AA
Championship game history: Class D runner-up 2013. 
Best wins: 3-0 and 3-0 (Quarterfinal) over No. 7 Marine City Cardinal Mooney, 3-2 over No. 6 Plymouth Christian in the Regional Final.
Players to watch: Courtney Wightman, 5-11 jr. OH (408 kills, 36 blocks); Lindsay Wightman, 5-7 soph. OH (300 kills, 108 aces, 487 digs); Rebekah Collier, 6-1 jr. MB (158 kills, 106 blocks); Beth Meehan, 5-5 jr. S (1,039 assists, 289 digs).
Finals forecast: Our Lady’s record is a bit deceiving; subtract a 1-9 run midseason against mostly Class A teams, and the Lakers fall right into place with four sweeps in five postseason matches. Courtney Wightman made the all-state first team last season in leading Our Lady to its first championship match, and Lindsay Wightman made the all-state second team as a freshman.

PHOTO: Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, including this season's Miss Volleyball Katherine Carlson (11), celebrates during last year's Class B Semifinal; Notre Dame went on to win the Class B championship.

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.