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The 2019 All-Cereal City team, featuring top performances in MHSAA semifinals and finals

By: MATTHEW B. MOWERY, November 26, 2019, 1:22 pm

Now that the 2019 MHSAA volleyball semifinals and finals have come and gone at Battle Creek’s Kellogg Arena, we can look back at the three days of action last weekend, and parse out the top performances for our 2019 All-Cereal City team:

 

• Jess Mruzik, Sr., OH, Farmington Hills Mercy (6-2)

Mruzik became the eighth Miss Volleyball winner to double-dip and win a state title, as well, and the third in the last decade. The Michigan signee left it all on the floor in her final two matches in high school, recording 60 kills on .433 hitting, adding 27 digs and three aces in wins over Ann Arbor Skyline and No. 2 Lowell in the finals, leading Mercy to its first-ever state championship in volleyball.

• Anna Smith, Jr., OH, Mendon (5-9) 

The Hornets lost six players to graduation from last year’s D4 title team, but they didn’t lose Smith, a College of Charleston commit who again dominated in the final two rounds of the tournament, recording 58 kills on .347 hitting, adding 25 digs, three block assists and four aces in wins over No. 4 Southfield Christian in the semis and No. 5 Leland in the D4 finals. The Hornets went to 5-0 all-time in state finals with the win.

• Jordyn Gates, Sr., S, Grand Rapids Christian (5-10)

The senior played her final two matches for her mom, coach Tiffannie Gates, helping the Eagles win back-to-back state titles, ousting No. 6 Kingsley in the semifinals and No. 2 Lake Odessa Lakewood in the title match. Gates had 67 assists and 10 kills combined, adding 28 digs and three aces. The Miss Volleyball finalist is bound for Arkansas.

• Julia Bishop, Jr., S, Farmington Hills Mercy (6-0)

There’s a large reason that the Marlins lost one match all season, and dropped three of 27 total sets in the postseason, hitting .336 as a team in the semifinals and finals: Bishop feeding the Mercy hitters in the right spots. The Michigan State committed junior had 97 assists, six kills, 14 digs and four block-assists in the final two rounds of the tournament.

• Mikayla Haut, Jr., OH, Monroe St. Mary CC (5-11)

On the 2020 short list for Miss Volleyball, Haut had 51 kills (hitting .347) and 44 digs in wins over No. 7 Beaverton in the semis and No. 1 Schoolcraft in the D3 finals, as the Kestrels won their first championship since 2014, and sixth overall. 

• Andelyn Simkins, Sr. OH, Schoolcraft (5-10)

Simkins, who finished as runner-up in the Miss Volleyball race, had 41 kills in 113 total attacks, hitting .248, with 31 digs in a Division 3 semifinal win over No. 10 Saginaw Valley Lutheran and a loss to No. 2 Monroe St. Mary CC in the D3 finals. She will play at Western Michigan next season.

• Jenna Reitsma, Jr., OH, Lowell (5-11)

The Marquette commit recorded 51 kills on .140 hitting, adding 19 digs and two aces in a semifinal win over defending champ Lake Orion, and a finals loss to top-ranked Mercy.

• Aubrey O’Gorman, Jr., MB, Lake Odessa Lakewood (6-3)

The Michigan State commit bounced back from an underwhelming 2018 semifinals performance to help the Vikings past No. 5 Pontiac Notre Dame Prep to the finals, where they fell to defending champ, No. 1-ranked Grand Rapids Christian. O’Gorman had 39 kills on .345 hitting in the two matches, adding 17 digs. 

• Addison VanderWeide, Jr., OH, Grand Rapids Christian (6-0)

What Gates put up, VanderWeide put down, combining for 47 kills on .400 hitting in the Eagles’ two matches, adding 18 digs. 

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Southfield Christian didn’t go down without a fight in the D4 semifinals, taking defending champ Mendon to five sets. A large part of that were the performances from senior outside hitters Emily Van Dyke (31 kills, .297 hitting, 16 digs) and Caitlin Warnshuis (25 kills, 24 digs).