Posted On: 07/1/20 5:07 PM
Each team in the state of Michigan will have a new look as we approach a new season in the fall of 2020.
The top contenders from 2019 have some big holes to fill if they hope to hold their positions among the top of the state.
Here’s a look at players from those top teams that could really make their 2020 season a special one.
With Jess Mruzik Jess Mruzik 6'2" | OH Mercy | 2020 State MI moving on to college, Mercy certainly losses a lot of production on the court heading into the 2020 season. Collins complimented Mruzik well on the outside before suffering a season-ending knee injury late in the 2019 championship run. Healed and ready to go, Collins will have a chance to really take on a bigger role this year. With a talented setter in Julia Bishop Julia Bishop 5'10" | S Mercy | 2021 State MI , and capable middles like Charli Atiemo and Ellie Tisko Ellie Tisko 6'0" | MB Mercy | 2021 State MI , Mercy has a championship run in its sights as long as the outsides can still produce consistently. Collins hit over .350 in 2019 and should be ready to take the lead in 2020.
Aubreigh Oswald Aubreigh Oswald 6'0" | MB Lowell | 2023 State MI – Soph. MH/OPP Lowell
– Sr. Mercy OH With [player_tooltip player_id="14089" first="Jess" last="Mruzik"] moving on to college, Mercy certainly losses a lot of production on the court heading into the 2020 season. Collins complimented Mruzik well on the outside before suffering a season-ending knee injury late in the 2019 championship run. Healed and ready to go, Collins will have a chance to really take on a bigger role this year. With a talented setter in [player_tooltip player_id="14163" first="Julia" last="Bishop"], and capable middles like Charli Atiemo and [player_tooltip player_id="50293" first="Ellie" last="Tisko"], Mercy has a championship run in its sights as long as the outsides can still produce consistently. Collins hit over .350 in 2019 and should be ready to take the lead in 2020. [player_tooltip player_id="66321" first="Aubreigh" last="Oswald"] – Soph. MH/OPP Lowell [caption id="attachment_100052" align="alignright" width="300"] [player_tooltip player_id="66321" first="Aubreigh" last="Oswald"] Oswald came on strong in the later parts of the 2019 season, giving Lowell a lot of hope for her future. With Meghan Meyer Meghan Meyer 5'11" | MB Lowell | 2020 State MI graduating, the Red Arrows will have a big hole to fill in the middle. Jenna Reitsma Jenna Reitsma 5'11" | OH Lowell | 2021 State MI is a dynamic outside, but having a steady presence in the middle made her job easier. Emily Struckmeyer Emily Struckmeyer 6'1" | MB Lowell | 2022 State MI , a junior, will join Oswald as the go-to middles for Lowell in 2020. If Oswald can take a big step forward as a sophomore, Lowell will certainly be a top contender in the state once again. Lauren Staruch Lauren Staruch 6'0" | OH Lake Orion | 2021 State MI – Sr. OH/OPP Lake Orion Lake Orion had then-freshman Nina Horning Nina Horning 6'2" | OH Lake Orion | 2023 State MI take on a six-rotation outside position in 2019 to fill in a void at outside hitter last season. As the year progressed, Horning got some help on the outside from Staruch, who proved to be a top-level finisher herself. With Lake Orion already strong in the middle behind Kendall Robertson Kendall Robertson 6'2" | MB Lake Orion | 2021 State MI and Reagan Goeke Reagan Goeke 6'2" | MB Lake Orion | 2021 State MI , Staruch becomes a big key heading into her senior season. If she builds on her strong 2019 finish, Lake Orion will be dominant at the net. Lauren Lee Lauren Lee 5'9" | S Skyline | 2022 State MI – Jr. S Ann Arbor Skyline Lee didn’t get to enjoy much of the 2019 season due to injury, but Skyline was too strong to stop behind Kendall Murray Kendall Murray 6'2" | MB Ann Arbor Skyline | 2020 State MI and Harper Murray Harper Murray 6'2" | OH Skyline | 2023 State MI on the outside. Ready to take back the starting setter position with Stacie Warner graduating, it will be important for Lee to be on top of her game to work in new hitters. With Kendall Murray Kendall Murray 6'2" | MB Ann Arbor Skyline | 2020 State MI off to Michigan, Harper Murray Harper Murray 6'2" | OH Skyline | 2023 State MI is going to need some help at the net finishing points. The quicker Lee can develop chemistry with those other hitters, the quicker Skyline can take off. Savannah Hall Savannah Hall 5'10" | S Mattawan | 2021 State MI – Sr. S Mattawan Hall is a high-profile player as is, but she’s got a lot of weight on her shoulders heading into 2020. The Wildcats lost libero Allie Wiese, outside Taylor Rutgers Taylor Rutgers 5'10" | OH Mattawan | 2020 State MI and middle Natalie Foster Natalie Foster 5'11" | RS Mattawan | 2020 State MI from the 2019 team that was near the top of the D1 rankings throughout the season. Hall will have to really showcase her leadership on the court, and also play at a high level to raise the game of new starting hitters. Hall seems up to the challenge. Tatum Casper Tatum Casper 6'2" | OH Marian | 2022 MI – Jr. OH/MH Marian Marian was a young team in 2019, but the Mustangs did graduate Christine Audette Christine Audette 6'1" | OH Marian | 2020 State MI , a fierce competitor at OPP that was a great compliment to Ava Brizard Ava Brizard 6'0" | OH Marian | 2022 State MI . The Mustangs will have to find a way to replace that leadership, but Casper seems like someone that will be ready to replace that production. Casper can move around the net and posted over 200 kills as a sophomore. The 2020 season will be a chance for her to help Marian get past Mercy in the heated CHSL rivalry. Alana Watlington Alana Watlington 5'9" | MB Clarkston | 2021 State MI – Sr. MH Clarkston [player_tooltip player_id="89339" first="Alana" last="Watlington"] Clarkston has been crossing its fingers for quite a while, hoping Watlington can avoid the injury bug for 2020 after missing the last season-and-a-half with two different knee injuries. In 2018, Watlington played 85 sets and had 160 kills while hitting .378 as a sophomore. Already returning strong hitters like Claire Nowicki Claire Nowicki 6'0" | OH Clarkston | 2021 State MI and Sydney Hasenfratz, the Wolves are hoping a healthy Watlington can provide them with a fire power they need to make a run deep in Division 1. Mackenzie Gross Mackenzie Gross 6'2" | OH Grand Haven | 2021 State MI – Sr. OH Grand Haven You can’t replace a player like Ashley Slater Ashley Slater 5'10" | OH Grand Haven | 2020 State MI , but Gross is going to have to be the go-to hitter for Grand Haven in 2020. Gross approached 400 kills for the 2019 season last fall, which is impressive. She will have to lead by example on the floor with the team also graduating setter Samantha Boeve Samantha Boeve 5'9" | S Grand Haven | 2021 MI . It could be a big mountain for Gross to have to climb this season, but she’s a tough competitor that will give it her all. Ella Markevics Ella Markevics 5'9" | S Rochester Stoney Creek | 2021 State MI – Sr. S Stoney Creek Markevics did a little bit of everything for Stoney Creek last season and the Cougars will need her to do the same in 2020. Already a vocal leader, Markevics had over 100 aces and 60 blocks in 2019 while amassing over 1,450 assists. With Kate Stration Kate Stration 5'7" | OH Stoney Creek | 2020 State MI graduating, Markevics will have to work her game to raise the level of her hitters. She has great arms in Ainsley Guse Ainsley Guse 6'3" | MB Rochester Stoney Creek | 2021 State MI and Sydney Tomlak Sydney Tomlak 5'11" | OH Stoney Creek | 2022 State MI , but will have to develop a new star or two as well. Leah Rogers Leah Rogers 6'1" | MB Hudsonville | 2022 State MI – Jr. MH/RS Hudsonville Rogers drew a lot of positive reviews from her shortened club season at FaR Out and now she’s hoping it will lead to a breakout prep season in 2020 with Hudsonville. The Eagles were one of the top teams in Division 1 in 2019, falling to Lowell in a competitive regional final. However, Hudsonville graduated its top two hitters in Mallory Keller Mallory Keller 5'9" | OH Hudsonville | 2020 State MI and Braely Herrema Braely Herrema 6'0" | OH Hudsonville | 2020 State MI . Rogers, along with Olivia Howlett Olivia Howlett 5'10" | MB Hudsonville | 2022 State MI will have to raise their game in the middle, or the outside, for Hudsonville to stay competitive in a tough region.