Will a First Ever MHSAA Champion Be Crowned on Saturday?
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Be sure to follow @lshotvb on Instagram, Tik Tok and Twitter for all things volleyball! Join us at the Prep Dig Top 250 Expo! Use code LShotVBExpo2023 for 10% off your registration fee. (APPLICABLE TO ALL EXPOS) – In 2022, we saw not one, but…
Be sure to follow @lshotvb on Instagram, Tik Tok and Twitter for all things volleyball!
Join us at the Prep Dig Top 250 Expo! Use code LShotVBExpo2023 for 10% off your registration fee. (APPLICABLE TO ALL EXPOS)
In 2022, we saw not one, but two programs snag their first ever state title.
Last year we saw Pewamo-Westphalia win their first ever title in Division III. In Division IV, after many appearances in the Final Four, Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart won their first state championship. Marian would go on to win their third straight title, meanwhile North Branch won their fourth in program history.
Without either of these first-timers going for a repeat this weekend, could we see some more first-timers join the party? Let’s break down the odds.
In Division I, we are for certain to see a new champion this weekend. With Mercy taking out the 3x defending champs on Tuesday, this opens the door for everyone. On both sides of this bracket, we have pairs of the haves and have nots. Mercy enters the weekend looking to secure their second in school history after winning in 2019 with Julia Bishop (Michigan State). Another Big Ten bound setter will be leading this team,(Nebraska). They’ll have to take down Clarkston however. The Wolves have been knocking on the door at a shot for years now, and will surely be using this as fuel coming in. They are a group still riding off of the wave from last year’s bitter loss. (George Washington) and have proven to be game-changers.
On the other side, we have Forest Hills Northern and Northville. These two are both returning after appearing in the Final Four last year, both losing to Marian in the semis and finals. FHN hasn’t been atop the state since 2002 when they won with the legendary Lindsey Taatjes (Minnesota). The Huskies are equipped with one of deadliest duos in all of Michigan Volleyball this season. Top ranked(Western Michigan) and (Northern Kentucky) can combine for one formidable force on the court. For Northville, they’ll be fighting for a second straight appearance in the championship match and a first title in school history. Without a dominating presence like Abigail Reck (Northeastern), the Mustangs will have to rely upon their balance to secure a historic win.
In this division, I would be very shocked to see ourselves with a new champion. This bracket is very lopsided. We have a brawl with No. 1 North Branch versus No. 2 Grand Rapids Christian in one round. And the next will be a battle of two unranked teams. The Bronco’s are not only the heavy favorite to win the semi-final match, but they’re the favorite to win it all and repeat. But if Grand Rapids Christian can pull off the “upset”, I would be shocked to not see the 3x state champions earn their fourth title in six years.
For this division, St. Mary’s Catholic Central is the lone team in the field to have won before. If they were to win it all by Saturday, this would mark the Kestrel’s seventh title in program history. SMCC is led by two Division I bound players in OHand S/L (Utah). They’ll have to ease the tide of some red hot programs looking for their first title this weekend.
In the opening rounds in the Cereal City, the Kestrels will have to take down a hungry Kalamazoo Christian squad. KC avenged their championship loss from a season ago on Tuesday against Pewamo-Westphalia in straight sets. With set scores of 25-14, -13, and -23 against the reigning champs, it looks like the Comets are hitting a new gear entering the weekend.and Anneliese DeJong are hitting on all cylinders as of late.
On the other side of the bracket, the winner of this game will be guaranteed the chance to win their first ever title. Alongside Kalamazoo Christian, Cass City is the other returning Final Four team from a year ago. They’re coming off of a huge win over No. 6 Saginaw Valley Lutheran powered behind 24 kills from(Texas Tech). They’ll have to now take down No. 5 Traverse City St. Francis, a team that hasn’t been to Kellogg since 2018 but has become a strong contender for the title. They’ll have to rely a ton on the balance of their court. With a spread offense that comes with and playing six rotations and always being viable attacking options, this creates an awesome matchup.
Similarly to Division II, I would be hard-pressed to see ourselves with a new face winning a state championship this weekend. With the likes of two powerhouse programs in Adrian Lenawee Christian and Leland on opposite ends of the bracket against non-ranked opponents, the semifinal should be a breeze for both teams.
Lenawee Christian and Leland combine for 8 titles in Division IV/Class D. Leland won their last title in 2015 led by Maddie Trumbull (Elmhurst). For LCS, a win on Saturday would mark their first title in almost 20 years. The last being won in 2004 after winning in 2003 as well.
The two teams have their heavyweight hitters that’ll surely go toe-to-toe on Saturday.for Leland and for LCS will make for one incredible showdown in the middle if no upsets prevail on Friday.