The east side of the state isn’t the only area that will host some competitive opening weekend tournaments. Portage Central will also host several top teams this Saturday. The format for PC will be four, 3 team pools. The top two teams in each pool will play a challenge match for the right to get into a 4 team Gold bracket. Eight teams could make the top 4 but I believe there are two teams that have a chance to win the tournament.
Players to Watch in the tournament – Jjess Mruzik (Mercy), Julia Bishop (Mercy), Jordy Gates (Grand Rapids Christian), Sarah Dunn (Livonia Churchill), Lindsay Taylor (Rockford), Ryann Jaqua (Portage Central), Riley Homer (Forest Hills Northern)
Mercy (#1 in Division 1) – Mercy is loaded this year. Led by the arm of Jess Mruzik and the hands of sophomore setter Julia Bishop, Mercy will go into many of these tournaments as the favorite. Coming off a disappointing loss in the semi’s to rival Marian last year, Mercy is as hungry as ever.
Grand Rapids Christian (#2 in Division 2) – GRC has a solid core and great ball control. That will help dynamic junior setter Jordy Gates run the flow of the offense. Look for GRC to make some noise this year and flirt with the top ranking all year in Division 2.
Other teams to watch – Rockford (#4 in Division 1) and Bedford (#7 in Division 1)
Pool A – Mercy rolls through Niles and Plainwell. Niles takes the 2nd spot in the pool
Pool B – Grand Rapids Christian gets a slight scare by Churchill but pulls out of the pull as the top seed. Churchill takes 2nd in the pool.
Pool C – Rockford rolls even being down a player. Cadillac edges Grosse Pt. North.
Pool D – In the pool of death for the tournament, Bedford edges out PC who takes 2nd in the pool…. barely
Mercy takes out Churchill in a rematch of 2017 Regional semi’s. Grand Rapids Christian is just too much for Niles and wins in 2. Portage Central upsets Rockford to knock out Rockford in 3 close sets. Bedford dominates Cadillac to advance to the top 4 group.
Mercy proves to be too much for Bedford and wins in two closely contested sets. Grand Rapids Christian rolls through Portage Central to set up the final.
Finals – Grand Rapids Christian rolls in the first set, then Mercy wakes up. Mercy takes home the crown in 3.