Preview: Top-Ranked Aiming to Finish #1
November 20, 2019
By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
State poll voters have been right on with their favorites for this weekend's MHSAA Volleyball Finals at Battle Creek's Kellogg Arena, as all four top-ranked teams will be making the trip.
What's more, Division 1 No. 1 Farmington Hills Mercy is one of seven contenders this weekend seeking to finish as a Finals champion for the first time.
Below is this weekend’s schedule:
Division 1 Semifinals – Thursday
Lake Orion vs. Lowell, 4:30 p.m.
Ann Arbor Skyline vs. Farmington Hills Mercy, 6:30 p.m.
Division 2 Semifinals - Friday
Pontiac Notre Dame Prep vs. Lake Odessa Lakewood, 4:30 p.m.
Kingsley vs. Grand Rapids Christian, 6:30 p.m.
Division 3 Semifinals – Friday
Saginaw Valley Lutheran vs. Schoolcraft, Noon
Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central vs. Beaverton, 2 p.m.
Division 4 Semifinals - Thursday
Mendon vs. Southfield Christian, Noon
Rudyard vs. Leland, 2 p.m.
Finals – Saturday
Division 1, 2 p.m.
Division 2, 4 p.m.
Division 3, Noon
Division 4, 10 a.m.
Click for links to all results from this season’s tournament plus ticket information and details 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.
ANN ARBOR SKYLINE
Record/rank: 54-8, unranked
Coach: Chris Cristian, third season (111-31-6)
League finish: First in Southeastern Conference Red
Championship history: Has never played in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 3-0 over honorable mention Novi in Regional Final, 3-0 (District Final) 3-0, 2-0 and 2-1 over honorable mention Saline, 2-0 over honorable mention Brighton, 2-0 over honorable mention Oxford.
Players to watch: Kendall Murray, 6-2 sr. OH (656 kills, .420 kill %, 367 digs); Harper Murray, 6-1 fr. OH (657 kills, .492 kill %, 151 aces, 446 digs); Stacie Warner, 5-5 sr. S (1,297 assists, 74 aces).
Finals forecast: Skyline won its first Regional title last week powered by a Miss Volleyball finalist in Kendall Murray and a star just getting started on her high school career in Harper Murray. The Eagles haven’t dropped a set during the MHSAA Tournament, nor in 12 of their last 13 matches. Skyline also has defeated a number of top teams from other divisions, including Division 2 honorable mention Ida, Division 3 No. 4 Muskegon Western Michigan Christian, No. 3 Kalamazoo Christian and No. 10 Saginaw Valley Lutheran; and Division 4 No. 3 Battle Creek St. Philip and No. 4 Southfield Christian. Kendall Murray will continue her career at University of Michigan.
FARMINGTON HILLS MERCY
Record/rank: 56-1, No. 1
Coach: Loretta Vogel, 11th season (record N/A)
League finish: First in Detroit Catholic League Central
Championship history: Class A runner-up 2010.
Best wins: 3-2 (Regional Semifinal), 3-0, 2-0, 3-0 and 3-0 over No. 7 Bloomfield Hills Marian; 2-1 over No. 3 Mattawan, 2-0 over No. 2 Lowell, 2-0, 2-1 and 3-0 over No. 9 Rochester Hills Stoney Creek; 2-0 over No. 10 Bloomfield Hills, 2-0, 2-0, 2-0 and 2-0 over honorable mention Saline; 2-0 over honorable mention Novi, 2-0 and 2-0 over honorable mention Oxford, 2-0 over honorable mention Brighton, 2-0 over Ann Arbor Skyline.
Players to watch: Jess Mruzik, 6-2 sr. OH (415 kills, .534 hitting %); Julia Bishop, 6-0 jr. S (1,459 assists, 75 aces, 288 digs); Ellen Tisko, 6-2 jr. MB (340 kills, .500 hitting %, 68.5 blocks); Charli Atiemo, 6-1 jr. MB (398 kills, .506 hitting %, 85 blocks).
Finals forecast: Mercy and Miss Volleyball winner Mruzik will attempt to win Vogel her first MHSAA Finals championship over more than four decades of coaching that has included bringing nine teams to at least the Semifinals, including last year’s team – which fell to eventual champion Lake Orion in a five-set semi. Mruzik, who also will continue at U-M, spent the beginning of the season playing for the U.S. U-18 national team in Egypt, and yet Mercy lost this season only to Lowell (while Mruzik was away). Bishop also made the all-state first team last season, while Atiemo made the third.
Record/rank: 39-15-2, honorable mention
Coach: Tony Scavarda, sixth season (317-63-5)
League finish: Third in Oakland Activities Association Red
Championship history: Division 1 champion 2018, Class A runner-up 2011.
Best wins: 3-2 over No. 9 Rochester Hills Stoney Creek in Regional Semifinal, 3-2 (District Final) and 3-0 over honorable mention Oxford, 3-1 (District Quarterfinal) and 2-0 over No. 6 Clarkston, 2-0 over honorable mention Brighton, 2-0 over honorable mention Saline, 2-0 over Ann Arbor Skyline.
Players to watch: Nina Horning, 6-2 fr. OH (394 kills, 107 aces); Lauren Staruch, 6-0 jr. OH (361 kills, 61 blocks); Reagan Goeke, 6-2 jr. MH (201 kills, .337 hitting %, 167 blocks).
Finals forecast: Lake Orion is 9-0-2 over its last 11 matches and defeated two top-10 teams on the way back to Battle Creek. Junior middle Kendall Robertson (250 kills, .331 hitting %) started last season’s championship match against Rockford but is the only player on this year’s roster to see the floor that day, making the Dragons’ return even more impressive. Kylie Andras (559 assists) and sophomore Jaina Macaulay (623) have split much of the setting, with Andras one of only three seniors on the team.
Record/rank: 54-3, No. 2
Coach: Jordan Drake, second season (92-7-2)
League finish: First in Ottawa-Kent Conference White
Championship history: Has never played in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 3-1 (Quarterfinal) and 2-1 over No. 3 Mattawan, 3-1 (Regional Final) and 2-0 over No. 4 Hudsonville, 3-0 (Regional Semifinal) and 2-0 over No. 5 Byron Center, 3-0 (District Final) and 3-1 over honorable mention Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central, 2-0 over No. 7 Bloomfield Hills Marian, 2-0 over No. 10 Bloomfield Hills, 2-0 over No. 1 Farmington Hills Mercy, 2-0 over No. 8 Grand Haven, 2-0 over honorable mention Novi, 2-0 and 2-0 over honorable mention Lake Orion, 2-0 over Division 2 No. 1 Grand Rapids Christian.
Players to watch: Sophia Powell, 5-8 jr. S (1,446 assists, .390 hitting %); Jenna Reitsma, 5-11 jr. OH (795 kills, .357 hitting %, 82 aces, 379 digs); Meghan Meyer, 6-1 sr. MH/RH (438 kills, .381 hitting %, 76 blocks).
Finals forecast: Lowell’s longest tournament run has included its first Regional title won last week and has seen the Red Arrows eliminate top-10 teams in three straight matches. Total, Lowell has defeated seven of the final top 10 in Division 1, plus the top-ranked teams in Division 2 (Grand Rapids Christian) and 3 (Schoolcraft). The Red Arrows have dropped only 14 sets this season including four to Hudsonville over two losses before avenging those defeats at the Regional. Reitsma made the all-state second team last season, and Meyer made the third team.
GRAND RAPIDS CHRISTIAN
Record/rank: 44-3, No. 1
Coach: Tiffannie Gates, ninth season (424-82)
League finish: First in O-K Gold
Championship history: Division 2 champion 2018.
Best wins: 3-0 over No. 4 Hamilton in Quarterfinal, 3-2 over No. 3 Coopersville in Regional Final, 2-0 over No. 8 Detroit Country Day, 2-0 over No. 9 Holland Christian, 3-0 and 2-0 over Division 1 No. 5 Byron Center, 2-0 over Division 1 No. 3 Mattawan, 2-0 over Division 1 No. 4 Hudsonville, 2-0 and 2-0 over Division 3 No. 1 Schoolcraft.
Players to watch: Jordyn Gates, 5-10 sr. S (1,099 assists, .309 hitting %, 378 digs); Addison VanderWeide, 6-0 jr. OH (495 kills, .305 hitting %, 59 aces, 345 digs); Evelyn Doezema, 6-3 soph. OH (326 kills, 63 blocks).
Finals forecast: Grand Rapids Christian rolled to its first championship last season with a pair of sweeps at Kellogg, and has just kept marching. The Eagles’ only losses this fall were to Division 1 Lowell and Hudsonville (twice), and they’ve dropped only 10 sets all season. Senior middle Ayva Kooistra (195 kills) joined Jordyn Gates, Doezema and VanderWeide in the starting lineup for last season’s Final, and junior libero Lauren Peal and junior defensive specialist Elizabeth Rupp both saw time in the championship match. Gates and VanderWeide both made the all-state first team in 2018, and Gates was a Miss Volleyball finalist this fall and will continue her career at Arkansas.
LAKE ODESSA LAKEWOOD
Record/rank: 39-12, No. 2
Coach: Cameron Rowland, second season (85-21-2)
League finish: First in Greater Lansing Activities Conference
Championship history: Class B champion 2012, four runner-up finishes.
Best wins: 3-0 over honorable mention Ida in Quarterfinal, 3-2 over No. 7 Parma Western in Regional Final, 3-0 (Regional Final) and 2-0 over honorable mention Marshall, 2-1 over No. 9 Holland Christian, 2-1 over Division 3 No. 1 Schoolcraft.
Players to watch: Maradith O’Gorman, 6-2 soph. RS (506 kills, .361 hitting %, 86 aces, 360 digs); Aubrey O’Gorman, 6-3 jr. MB (480 kills, .424 hitting %, 151 blocks); Skylar Bump, 5-6 fr. S (1,209 assists, 88 aces).
Finals forecast: Lakewood has played in four championship matches over the last seven seasons, finishing Class B runner-up in 2014, 2016 and 2017. The Vikings fell to Grand Rapids Christian in last season’s Semifinal, and have won 10 of their last 11 matches heading back to Battle Creek. They’ll be prepared, thanks as well to impressive losses to Hudsonville, Lowell, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central and Byron Center this fall. Maradith O’Gorman made the all-state first team last season as just a freshman, while Aubrey O’Gorman was selected as only a sophomore.
Record/rank: 58-7-3, No. 6
Coach: David Hall, 21st season (982-231-92)
League finish: First in Northwest Conference
Championship history: Class C runner-up 2004.
Best wins: 3-2 over honorable mention Cadillac in Regional Final, 2-0 over honorable mention Corunna, 3-0 and 2-0 over Division 4 No. 5 Leland, 2-0 over Division 3 No. 4 Muskegon Western Michigan Christian, 2-0 and 2-0 over Division 3 honorable mention Traverse City St. Francis.
Players to watch: Brittany Bowman, 5-4 sr. OH (501 kills, 68 aces, 621 digs); Maddie Bies, 5-0 sr. S (1,489 assists, 343 digs); Austyn DeWeese, 6-2 sr. MH (529 kills, .397 hitting %, 143 blocks).
Finals forecast: Kingsley is returning to the Semifinals for the first time since that 2004 Class C run, and following a senior-laden lineup with five starters and the team’s libero all looking to finish their high school careers by making more history this weekend. The Stags can go to multiple scoring options, with senior outside hitter Sidny Hessem (458 kills) also making the most of many opportunities this fall. Kingsley has won 19 straight matches since taking a loss to Division 1 Temperance Bedford, and also saw Lake Orion and No. 3 Coopersville (the latter twice) in defeats.
PONTIAC NOTRE DAME PREP
Record/rank: 48-10-2, No. 7
Coach: Betty A. Wroubel, 26th season (1,106-231-96)
League finish: Does not compete in a league.
Championship history: Three MHSAA titles (most recent 2017), Division 2 runner-up 2018.
Best wins: 3-0 over No. 8 Detroit Country Day in District Final, 2-0 over No. 10 Onsted, 2-0 over honorable mention Cadillac, 2-1 over Division 1 honorable mention Oxford, 2-0 over Division 4 No. 3 Battle Creek St. Philip, 2-0 over Division 3 No. 8 Centreville.
Players to watch: Aly Borellis, 5-10 soph. S/RS (564 kills, 96 blocks, 96 aces, 722 assists); Josie Bloom, 5-6 soph. DS/L (90 aces, 491 digs); Sophia Sudzina, 5-7 soph. S/OH (364 kills) (Only partial season stats available).
Finals forecast: Notre Dame Prep played in its second-straight MHSAA Final last fall, and appears the team to watch for the next two seasons too after making another run to finish this one. Borellis made the all-state third team last fall as just a freshman and has done some of everything for the Irish this fall. Bloom, senior middle Emily Mohr and sophomore middle Bianca Giglio also started in last year’s championship match, and junior libero Livy Kowalkowski played a significant role. Mohr (53 blocks, 60 aces) and middle Theresa Carrier (265 kills off the bench) are the team’s only seniors.
Record/rank: 46-1-1, No. 7
Coach: Steve Evans, 11th season (332-154-4)
League finish: First in Jack Pine Conference
Championship history: Has never played in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 2-1 over No. 5 Bronson, 3-0 over honorable mention Traverse City St. Francis in Quarterfinal, 2-0 over honorable mention Beal City, 2-0 over Freeland, 2-0 over Mount Pleasant, 2-1 over Division 4 honorable mention Saginaw Nouvel.
Players to watch: Molly Gerow, 5-9 jr. OH (631 kills, 369 digs); Mady Pahl, 5-7 jr. S (1,103 assists, 64 aces, 333 digs); Macie Jerome, 5-4 sr. L (83 aces, 584 digs).
Finals forecast: Beaverton has increased its win total every season over the last three and will play in its first Semifinal after winning its first Regional title last week. The team’s only loss this fall came to Freeland, a quarterfinalist in Division 2, and the Beavers later avenged that defeat and have dropped only eight sets all season. They come to Battle Creek on a 37-match winning streak with sweeps in 21 of their last 22. Gerow made the all-state third team last season, and Jerome and defensive specialist Averie Bassage are the team’s only seniors.
MONROE ST. MARY CATHOLIC CENTRAL
Record/rank: 48-2, No. 2
Coach: Karen O’Brien, fifth season (199-42-3)
League finish: First in Huron League
Championship history: Five MHSAA titles (most recent 2014), three runner-up finishes.
Best wins: 3-1 (Regional Final), 2-1 and 2-0 over No. 6 Brighton Charyl Stockwell Prep, 2-0 over No. 5 Bronson, 2-0 and 2-1 over Division 2 honorable mention Ida, 2-0 over Division 2 honorable mention Marshall, 2-0 over Division 4 No. 5 Leland, 2-1 over Ann Arbor Skyline.
Players to watch: Mikayla Haut, 5-11 jr. OH (446 kills, 73 aces, 75 blocks, 390 digs); Abbie Costlow, 5-10 jr. RS/OH (287 kills, .392 hitting %, 96 blocks); Sarah Reicker, 5-5 sr. S (835 assists, 50 aces).
Finals forecast: Monroe St. Mary is a pair of two-set losses to Division 1 No. 6 Clarkston and Division 2 No. 3 Coopersville from undefeated this fall as it returns to the Semifinals for the sixth time this decade and second-straight season. Haut, Costlow, junior outside hitter Anna Dean (327 kills) and senior right side Samantha Michael (191) all started in last year’s five-set Semifinal defeat to eventual champion Bronson, and Haut went on to make the all-state first team for the second time. Senior libero Payton Osborne had totaled a team-high 562 digs and 73 aces entering this week.
SAGINAW VALLEY LUTHERAN
Record/rank: 40-8-5, No. 10
Coach: Jon Frank, 13th season (476-224-65)
League finish: First in Tri-Valley Conference West
Championship history: Has never played in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 2-1 over honorable mention Beal City, 3-1 over Brown City in Regional Final, 2-1 over Freeland, 2-0 over Saginaw Swan Valley, 3-1 over Division 4 honorable mention Saginaw Nouvel, 2-0 over Division 4 honorable mention Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart.
Players to watch: Peyton Bartnikowski, 5-7 jr. OH (443 kills, 69 aces, 334 digs); Sydney Krause, 5-9 jr. S (1,123 assists); Carly Pomaville, 5-7 sr. MH (201 kills, 65 blocks).
Finals forecast: Valley Lutheran won its first Regional title since 2011 and is back at the Semifinals for the first time since 1983. The Chargers have had a lot of success at the local levels with four more league and three more District titles over the last five seasons, and they are taking the next steps with a mix of seniors and talented players who should have the team in contention again next season as well. Valley Lutheran faced a number of larger opponents throughout the fall and also earned a draw with No. 3 Kalamazoo Christian. Senior libero Kelsy Vittitow (61 aces, 646 digs) earned all-state honorable mention last season
Record/rank: 47-6-1, No. 1
Coach: Erin Onken, eighth season (319-95-15)
League finish: First in Southwestern Athletic Conference Valley
Championship history: Class C champion 2008, runner-up 2014.
Best wins: 3-0 (Quarterfinal) and 2-0 over No. 4 Muskegon Western Michigan Christian, 3-0 over No. 5 Bronson in Regional Semifinal, 3-0 (District Final), 3-0 and 2-0 over No. 3 Kalamazoo Christian, 2-0 over honorable mention Traverse City St. Francis, 2-1 over Division 1 No. 3 Mattawan, 2-0 over Division 1 No. 10 Bloomfield Hills, 2-0 over Division 1 honorable mention Lake Orion, 2-0 over Division 2 No. 2 Lake Odessa Lakewood, 2-0 over Division 2 No. 5 Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, 2-0 and 2-0 over Division 2 honorable mention Edwardsburg.
Players to watch: Andelyn Simkins, 5-10 sr. OH (692 kills, .505 hitting %, 84 aces, 490 digs); Kayla Onken, 5-8 jr. S (1,352 assists, 80 aces, 305 digs), Anna Schuppel, 6-1 jr. M (252 kills, .475 hitting %, 147 blocks); Maggie Morris, 6-0 jr. M (268 kills, .444 hitting %, 108 blocks).
Finals forecast: Schoolcraft has one of the most impressive sets of results in the state this fall, given that it’s a Division 3 school and has wins over three teams at Battle Creek in either Division 1 or 2 – not to mention against a number of other now-eliminated contenders. Simkins was a Miss Volleyball finalist and will continue next season at Western Michigan. But she and outside hitter Madi Ballett are the only senior starters, which should make next season one with high hopes as well. This will be the Eagles’ first Semifinal trip since the 2014 run, but they’ve stayed in the mix; they’ve won league titles every season under Erin Onken and District titles every season but one.
Record/rank: 43-14-3, No. 5
Coach: Laurie Glass, 25th season (1,006-296-95)
League finish: Second in Northwest Conference
Championship history: Five MHSAA titles (most recent 2015), seven runner-up finishes.
Best wins: 3-0 over No. 6 Merrill in Quarterfinal, 3-1 (Regional Final) and 2-0 over honorable mention Traverse City Christian, 2-0 over Division 3 honorable mention Traverse City St. Francis, 2-0 over Saginaw Swan Valley.
Players to watch: Olivia Lowe, 5-9 jr. OH (338 kills, 77 aces, 333 digs); Tatum Kareck, 5-8 jr. OH (338 kills, 83 aces, 364 digs); Jana Molby, 5-5 jr. S (757 assists, 62 aces).
Finals forecast: Leland is another regular at Kellogg Arena for the season’s final weekend, with this its sixth trip to the Semifinals over the last seven seasons. And there’s some additional intrigue this time, as every player on the roster is a junior except for freshman setter Alexis Luce. Kareck and 6-0 junior middle Sarah Elwell (250 kills, 91 blocks) were in the starting lineup for last season’s championship match, and junior libero Mia Osorio is a returning Division 4 all-state second teamer. Leland again loaded its schedule to prepare for this point. The Comets played only 13 Division 4 opponents before the playoffs and at one point stood 6-9-2 before locking in to win 37 of their next 43 matches.
Record/rank: 38-9-6, No. 1
Coach: Heather Bowers, second season (87-15-9)
League finish: Second in Southwest 10 Conference
Championship history: Four MHSAA titles (most recent 2018).
Best wins: 3-1 over No. 2 Camden-Frontier in Quarterfinal, 3-0 over No. 3 Battle Creek St. Philip in Regional Final, 2-0 over Division 2 honorable mention Hopkins, 3-0 over Sturgis.
Players to watch: Anna Smith, 5-9 jr. OH (660 kills, .380 hitting %, 104 aces, 73 blocks, 304 digs); Taylor Heitkamp, 5-8 sr. MB (263 kills, 105 aces); Gracie Russell, 5-3 sr. S (1,224 assists, 276 digs).
Finals forecast: Mendon has lost just one set over six postseason matches despite facing the Nos. 2 and 3 teams over the last two rounds, and another championship would give former Hornets’ standout Bowers her second in two seasons to begin her head coaching career. Smith and junior middle Andrea Hoffman (210 kills, 71 blocks) are the only starters back from last season’s Final, but they’re significant. Smith made the all-state third team as a freshman before moving up to the first team last fall. Mendon did finish second in its league, but to Division 3 No. 8 Centreville.
Record/rank: 35-4-3, No. 10
Coach: Ellen Perry, 27th season (630-414-155)
League finishes: First in Eastern Upper Peninsula Conference and second in Straits Area Conference
Championship history: Upper Peninsula Class A-B-C champion 1996, runner-up 1995 and 1997.
Best wins: 3-1 over honorable mention Carney-Nadeau in the Quarterfinal, 3-1 over Onaway in the Regional Final, 3-1 over Division 3 honorable mention Manistique.
Players to watch: Nina Alpers, 6-0 sr. MH (360 kills, 84 aces, 63 blocks, 318 digs); Sara Beelen, 5-9 jr. OH (251 kills, 546 digs, 116 aces); Brooklynn Besteman, 5-9 soph. M (222 kills, 75 aces).
Finals forecast: Rudyard won its first Regional title in 2017 and has taken the next step by earning its first Semifinal appearance despite graduating three players this spring who earned all-state recognition last year. (The Regional title and Semifinal berth are the first since the Upper and Lower Peninsulas joined for a combined MHSAA Tournament in 2000). The Bulldogs have lost just 19 sets this season and only two over five postseason matches. This is another team that could be in this mix for a few seasons; Alpers is the only senior. Junior Chesney Molina (603 assists) has handled most of the setting.
Record/rank: 29-7-4, No. 4
Coach: Mike Van Dyke, ninth season (176-134-18)
League finish: Tied for first in Michigan Independent Athletic Conference
Championship history: Has never played in an MHSAA Final.
Best wins: 3-0 (District Final), 3-0 and 3-0 over No. 9 Plymouth Christian Academy; 3-1 over No. 7 Auburn Hills Oakland Christian, 3-2 over Division 3 No. 6 Brighton Charyl Stockwell Prep, 3-0 and 3-0 over Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest, 2-0 over Detroit Cass Tech.
Players to watch: Emily Van Dyke
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.