Novi: The Wildcats are a very balanced and technically sound team that can
The second round of the Volleyball Power Series at St. Joe’s Mercy Elite Sports Center was held on Saturday.
Overall, 29 teams took part in the day, which featured some great action.
While it was hard to keep an eye on all the play, I did get to see a lot of talent.
Here’s Part 1 of my takeaways from the day and some players that caught my eye.
[player_tooltip player_id="110328" first="Johanna" last="Tillman"]
Dakota: The Cougars have a lot of size at the net, and a lot of athleticism to go with it. Erin MadiganErinMadigan6'1" | SDakota | 2023StateMI is an impressive setter at 6’1”. She moves really well and has a great connection with her hitters. Olivia GardnerOliviaGardner6'2" | MBDakota | 2023StateMI, Emma ThamarusEmmaThamarus5'11" | OHDakota | 2023StateMI and Johanna TillmanJohannaTillman6'2" | MBDakota | 2024StateMI all were putting down powerful shots and creating blocking issues for opposing hitters. All are also juniors, aside from the sophomore Tillman. Dakota is going to be a major factor these next two years.
[player_tooltip player_id="66308" first="Kaitlyn" last="Hoffman"]
Novi: The Wildcats are a very balanced and technically sound team that can play out long rallies. A big reason for that is having standout passers like Sarah VellucciSarahVellucci5'11" | OHNovi | 2023StateMI and Kaitlyn HoffmanKaitlynHoffman5'8" | DS/LNovi | 2023StateMI also in hitting roles. The two have been elite defenders during club season, but have shown their all-around skills this prep season. Vellucci is the go-to hitter and leader for the Wildcats, while Hoffman has shown she can do it all this year and looks confident at the net.
Mercy: The Marlins are relying on a lot of young talent this year, most notably their freshmen hitter-setter duo of Ella CraggsEllaCraggs5'8" | SMercy | 2025MI and Campbell FlynnCampbellFlynn6'2" | SMercy | 2025MI. Both play each position very smoothly and can transition seamlessly. They have a great rapport with one another and have big swings. Flynn is 6’1” and her length is a great added dimension to her standout athleticism. Craggs is an explosive athlete with a drive to be the best.
Clarkston: The Wolves were without junior outside Paige GiehtbrockPaigeGiehtbrock6'0" | OHClarkston | 2023StateMI, which certainly was a big loss. However, Clarkston still was very competitive on the day. Along with the usual standouts of middle Elizabeth AdamsElizabethAdams6'2" | MBClarkston | 2022StateMI and libero Summer JidasSummerJidas5'5" | DS/LClarkston | 2022StateMI, junior hitter Emma LarkinsEmmaLarkins5'11" | OHClarkston | 2023MI caught my eye with some good footwork and finishing on the day. She showed the ability to adapt and get good swings from different angles.
North Branch: The Broncos are No. 6 in our latest D2 poll and they still are a young team with just one senior on the roster. Sophomore Alana DeshetskyAlanaDeshetsky5'7" | OHNorth Branch | 2024StateMI is definitely a go-to hitter and finishing at a high rate. She’s hitting .321 on the season. Sophomore Kayla ChingwaKaylaChingwa6'1" | MBNorth Branch | 2024StateMI is an imposing middle at 6’2” and has a high ceiling for growth. She’s going to become a real problem for opponents.
Brighton: The Bulldogs were rolling out with some young talent and a number of them show a lot of potential to make Brighton a team to keep an eye on for the future. Sophomores Emily KramerEmilyKramer5'7" | OHBrighton | 2024MI and Alyssa Swanson were able to put together some impressive kills at the net, while sophomore setter Karlie VogelheimKarlieVogelheim5'11" | MBBrighton | 2024StateMI did a nice job of putting them in position to succeed. Junior middle Megan Jagst has good length at 6’1”. She can be a real force as she taps more into her aggressive side.
Anchor Bay: The Tars had some tough opponents, but played very competitively and showed a lot of resilience. Michelle Domey, a junior outside, was aggressive throughout the day and played with a lot of fire. She wasn’t afraid to go toe-to-toe with anyone at the net. It helps when you have a great veteran setter in Karlee StollKarleeStoll5'7" | SAnchor Bay | 2022StateMI as well. Junior libero Lexi SmithLexiSmith5'2" | DS/LAnchor Bay | 2023MI also showed a lot of hustle and had a serve that really challenged opponents.
Romeo: The Bulldogs are a team that plays with good hustle, but don’t have the size a lot of top teams in the state do. One player that really showed that was junior Caitlin Jaskolski. She moved around the court well and was giving her all to each point. She also put together some impressive swings.
Rochester: The Falcons don’t have a record that raises eyebrows, but they are a team that have been a tough out and seem right on the cusp of turning the corner. Junior middle Sara Robinson did some good things for Rochester. She was strong defensively with her blocking and showed some improved attacks when her number was called.