Novi became the first team to repeat as Class A state volleyball champion since Birmingham Marian in 2009 and ’10 with a 25-23, 20-25, 25-22, 25-22 victory over Rockford Saturday afternoon at Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek.
“It’s so amazing,” said Novi senior outside hitter Ally Cummings, who finished as Miss Volleyball runnerup Monday. “Every year you know it will be a challenge to make it back to Battle Creek, so to be able to repeat is such a great feeling.
“I think this game Abryanna (Cannon) was great on the attack and our defense was strong, just putting touches on the ball, getting the ball to Erin (O’Leary) to set up our hitters. Erin has the ability to set us up even if it’s way off the 10-foot line and a lot of other teams don’t have that type of setter.”
Cannon, a junior outside hitter and Notre Dame commit, had 20 kills for top-ranked Novi, which also received 10 kills and 14 digs from Cummings and eight kills and 33 assists from O’Leary, a junior who is committed to Michigan.
O’Leary credited 6-1 junior outside hitter Kathryn Ellison for giving Novi a big boost after Rockford pulled even with the Game 2 win.
“We knew that this team (Rockford) had some really athletic, dynamic and efficient middles so after the second set, after we lost, we made a change and put Kathryn Ellison, our outside, in the middle and we had Jaeda Porter hitting on the outside to give them a different look. Kathryn and Jaeda both did an incredible job of adjusting, especially since neither of them were playing their normal position.”
Novi (54-1) has now made three straight state championship game appearances, losing to Romeo in 2014 before defeating Romeo last year. The Wildcats are 162-9-1 during the last three years.
“Being a part of this program has been an incredible experience," O'Leary said. "Every year has been special and different.”
Olivia Rademacher had 12 kills, and Cassandra Smigiel and Sara Majerle 11 apiece for Rockford.