2021 MHSAA Division 1 Volleyball Champions: Bloomfield Hills Marian

Head coach: Mayssa Cook  l  Assistant coaches: Dianne Phillips, Vince Muscat, Alex Cocklin, Morgan Watler, Lindsay Woch, Brooke Galli

Players: Seniors: Janiah Jones, Sophie Treder, Sarah Sylvester, Ava Brizard; Juniors: Lauren Heming, Ava Sarafa, Mackenzie Jackson, Molly Banta, Reagan Sass, Ella Schomer, Gabrielle Hock, Evey Oegema; Sophomores: McKenzie Swanson; Freshmen: Izzy Busignani

   It was a sweet repeat.

   No. 1-ranked Bloomfield Hills Marian beat No. 3-ranked Ann Arbor Skyline 3-1 (25-18, 22-25, 25-18, 25-19) to repeat as Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 1 volleyball champions on Saturday, Nov. 20, at the Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek.

   It was the fourth MHSAA volleyball championship for Marian (53-1). The Mustangs dropped only five sets the entire season. Their only loss of the season came at the hands of Division 2 champion Pontiac Notre Dame Preparatory 2-1 at a September tournament. Senior and Miss Volleyball finalist Sarah Sylvester (Texas Christian University) was sidelined with an injury during that game.

   Marian also won Class A titles in 2010 and 2009.

   On Saturday, Miss Volleyball senior Ava Brizard (North Carolina State) had 25 kills and 13 digs to lead the Mustangs. Junior setter Ava Sarafa (Kentucky) had 44 assists and 12 digs. Senior Sophie Treder had nine kills and 10 digs in the victory. Senior Janiah Jones had five kills.

   Sylvester closed out the fourth set and the match with her fifth kill of the game.

   The back-to-back championships were the expectation for a Marian

 team loaded with Division 1 talent and returning all 10 players from last season’s title team.

   “Although it was a goal, that never made us get complacent or get lazy,” Brizard told reporters. “We always worked our butts off like we were the underdogs, like we were the last-ranked team in the state. We always worked so hard even though people were expecting us to go back-to-back. But we just kept setting that bar higher and higher for ourselves, and I think that’s what really helped us get to this moment right here.”

   Fourth-year Marian head coach Mayssa Cook (a week overdue with her third child) also realized the expectations for her team.

   “I felt this enormous amount of pressure all season,”.she told reporters. “As a coach you like to think you have more control than you do. I tried to carry as much of it for them – I knew they had a lot on their plate and a lot on them. I will say I was so impressed with their composure and how they handled stress all season long. I absolutely know the four seniors on this team (Brizard, Jones, Treder and Sylvester) are very ready to step into playing roles at the next level. Most girls going into college don’t have this level of experience, level of play under pressure that they have had. So, we’re exceptionally proud of them as a school.”

   Marian swept No. 2 Hudsonville 3-0 in the semifinals on Nov. 18 and beat Davison 3-0 in the quarterfinals on Nov. 16.

   Marian beat Lake Orion 3-0 to earn a regional championship on Nov. 11.