At 15-0, Jade Ware began to realize where Friday’s second game against Southfield might be headed.
At 20-0, her Southfield volleyball coach Dana Cooper did too.
At 23-0, the Bluejays’ fans were about the boil over. Two points later, they did.
No category exists in the MHSAA volleyball record book for consecutive points served. But it’s fair to say few if any have accomplished what Ware did during her team’s District final win – serve all 25 points, without stop, in her team’s shutout victory in the second game.
“The day of, I got a little nervous about the game. I told my team I’d never been so nervous, and they told me it’s a good thing. It means I was going to do something good today,” Ware said. “Everybody made such a big deal of the game (going in). ... I put so much pressure on myself the day of. People were coming up to me (saying), ‘Are you ready? Are you ready?’
“After the first couple of balls go over, it all goes away.”
The Bluejays had outlasted Berkley 25-20 in the match’s first game when Ware began serving the second. The 25-0 win gave her team a 2-0 advantage. Berkley served to start the third game, but Southfield scored the first point. Ware then served the next five points of that game too as the Bluejays went on to finish the victory 25-19.
The win gave Southfield its fifth-straight District championship and advanced the Bluejays to this week’s regional at Lake Orion. Southfield won the first four of those District titles under coach Alisha Love, who stepped down after last season. Dana Cooper took over this fall, and during an early October practice began teaching Ware her new game serve – a jump serve with top spin.
“I knew she had the power to do a jump. She mastered it almost immediately,” Cooper said. “There’s so much top spin on it, some of her balls fall just on the other side of the net.”
“Correctly? I just started doing it a month ago. That’s why I was so amazed,” Ware added.
Ware totaled 13 aces over the three games, tying her for 14th on the MHSAA list for a best-of-five match. She also had 12 digs, and set up teammate Cassadine Reed for the winning kill in that second game. Ware, both a hitter and a setter (the latter along with senior Nicole Rashleigh) in Southfield’s offense, had the match-winning kill in the third.
Hitting is Ware's favorite volleyball skill, although she said she loves how an ace helps her team. She’d hit strings of five good serves in a row leading up to Friday, but that night was the first time her serve had been so consistent over the course of an entire match.
“The only time I’d smile was after an ace or a kill,” Ware said. “I guess I was in my zone. Nothing was getting to me.”
(Photos courtesy of Terry McNamara Photography and the Ware family.)
Sarah Bradley ♦ Clarkston Everest Collegiate
Junior ♦ Volleyball
The 6-0 outside hitter had 31 kills – tied for sixth-most in an MHSAA Final – with a .419 hitting percentage and 18 digs as Everest Collegiate came back from a two-set deficit to defeat No. 4-ranked Leland in five in Saturday’s Division 4 championship match at Kellogg Arena. The first Finals title in program history capped a tournament run that saw the Mountaineers also win their first Regional title. Everest entered the postseason ranked No. 10 in Division 4 and finished 32-4-2.
Bradley finished the season with 420 kills, adding 15 in a Quarterfinal win over No. 6 Marlette and 25 in a five-set Semifinal victory over top-ranked Adrian Lenawee Christian during which Everest also came back after losing the first two sets. Bradley was named to the Division 4 all-state first team after earning an honorable mention as a sophomore. She also plays basketball, softball and soccer for the Mountaineers and is interested in pursuing a career in the medical field as she begins contemplating her college possibilities.
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Past 2023-24 Honorees
Nov. 17: Kalieb Osborne, Waterford Mott football - Report
Nov. 10: Tekalegn Vlasma, Muskegon Western Michigan Christian soccer - Report
Nov. 3: Colton Kinnie, Birmingham Seaholm football - Report
Oct. 27: Lauren Timpf, Macomb Lutheran North golf - Report
Oct. 20: Alena Li, Okemos golf - Report
Oct. 13: Seth Norder, Grand Haven cross country - Report
Oct. 5: Paige Anderson, Muskegon Reeths-Puffer golf - Report
Sept. 29: MacKenzie Bisballe, Lake City volleyball - Report
Sept. 22: Jhace Massey, Gladwin football - Report
Sept. 15: Kaylee Draper, Sturgis swimming - Report
Sept. 8: Owen Jackson, Traverse City St. Francis tennis - Report
Sept. 1: Rachel Forsyth, Ann Arbor Pioneer cross country - Report
(Photos courtesy of the Clarkston Everest Collegiate athletic department.)