Volleyball Finals: Instant Classics

November 19, 2011

BATTLE CREEK -- Alexis Huntey will now be in the conversation when sister Ashley reminisces about her MHSAA Class C Volleyball title in 2007.

The 6-2 senior outside hitter led Morley-Stanwood to the school's second championship Saturday, and the first since her older sister helped the Mohawks to their only other title four years ago against Ubly.

She’s one of the heroes of Saturday’s MHSAA Finals at Kellogg Arena. We’ve got highlights from all four games, and some of the stories behind them.

(Click of full stats from the Finals and Semifinals.)

Class C

When Morley-Stanwood won its 2007 title,  Alexis Huntey watched from the bench as a team manager.

Now, younger sis might even have the better story of the two. 

The Mohawks (58-4-2) claimed the 2011 championship by downing 2010 champion Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central 3-2 in one of the most thrilling Finals in MHSAA history.

The see-saw affair saw 32 ties and 13 lead changes from beginning to its nail-biting end, and featured 124 kills. With Morley-Stanwood leading 2-1 in sets (25-22, 26-28, 25-22), the Mohawks were just two points away from victory in set No. 4, leading the Kestrels 23-22. However, Kestrels battled to a 26-24 win to force a decisive fifth set.

Monroe St. Mary (48-4) came out firing in the final set, bolting to an 8-4 lead before the Mohawks rattled off five consecutive points to surge ahead. Fitting to this matchup, the game was tied three more times before Morley-Stanwood went ahead for good on a kill by Kayla Rosman to make it 12-11.

Then, after a Huntey kill put the Mohawks on the brink, the celebration began when a Kestrel attempt sailed wide of the end line to give Morley a 15-13 win and the trophy.

Huntey's 30 kills rank tied for third on the MHSAA Finals list, and she might need ice for her shoulder after 84 attempts.

Monroe SMCC's 63 team kills rank fourth on the all-time MHSAA Finals ledger, while Morley-Stanwood's 61 are tied for sixth. The teams combined for 387 attack attempts and the setters combined for 121 assists.

The defenses played a key role in the roller-coaster affair, as the Kestrels turned in 93 digs, while the Mohawks had 84.

Class A

In the first-ever MHSAA Volleyball Finals appearance for both schools, Rockford rolled over Lake Orion in three sets, 25-21, 25-23, 25-10 to claim the school's first crown.

The Rams (60-8) used an efficient attack to dispose of the Dragons (54-13-3), hitting .289 while limiting Lake Orion to a .115 attack percentage.

Senior setter Halle Peterson had plenty of options offensively, spreading the opportunities around the Rams’ front line. Four players recorded double-digit kills for Rockford, paced by senior hitter Jessica Majerle's 14. Murphy Heyer added 11 kills and led the team with 15 digs, while Andrea Kacsits and Avery Punches chipped in with 10 kills apiece.

Lake Orion senior Shannon Murdock led the Dragons with 13 kills.

Class B

Like both Class A finalists, Tecumseh was in its first MHSAA Final on Saturday. But reigning champion Fruitport played on its strength and playoff experience to claim a second-straight title and the third in program history. 

The Trojans (50-8) defeated Tecumseh 25-13, 25-20, 25-19. The Indians finished 55-4-1.

Fruitport also won Class B in 2005 and has finished MHSAA runner-up four times. The Trojans surivived a five-game Semifinal against East Grand Rapids to earn Saturday's opportunity. 

Breanna Geile had 15 kills and Brandie Jones 14 for Fruitport, with setter Lauren Hazekamp totaling 33 assists. Kelsey Berrington had 32 kills for Tecumseh, and Carly Tillotson had 29 assists. 

Class D

The Tigers of Battle Creek St. Philip continued to make themselves at home in their backyard at Kellogg, winning the Class D title for a sixth straight year.

This year's victim was the same school against which St. Philip began its recent streak, Wyoming Tri-unity Christian. The Tigers pounded out a 3-0 win over the Defenders, 25-16, 25-13 and 25-11 in rolling to the school's 17th title overall.

For coach Vicky Groat, it meant moving one win closer to the school record for MHSAA crowns. She now has led seven Tigers teams to championships, two behind her mother, Sheila Guerra, for whom Vicky played as a student at St. Philip. The Tigers' only title not won with Groat or Guerra at the helm was a 1979 win under the tutelage of Becky Emrich.

On Saturday, it was an attack of underclassmen leading the way for St. Philip (59-4-2). Junior Amanda McKinzie registered 16 kills, and sophomore Sierra Hubbard-Neil added 12 to lead the attack. Hubbard-Neil converted 12 of 23 attempts with only one error, hitting .478.

Directing the Tigers attack was junior setter Andrea Lesiow, distributing 30 assists.

Tri-unity (39-14-2) had no answer for the Tigers, who also played tremendous defense with nine blocks and 42 digs. The Defenders were led by junior Alyssa Petrick's 17 kills.

(Above) Big hitter: Morley-Stanwood senior Alexis Huntey winds up for one of her 30 kills in the Class C Final.
(Below) No. 1: Rockford, in its first MHSAA Final, claimed its first championship in the Class A title game. 

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 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.