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St. Philip chases history in state volleyball tourney

David Goricki
The Detroit News

A new volleyball state champion will be crowned in Class A this weekend in Battle Creek with East Grand Rapids already eliminated from postseason competition.

And, a new record could also be celebrated Saturday at Kellogg Arena when all four champions will be crowned. Battle Creek St. Philip won its eighth straight Class D state championship last season, matching the state record held by Marysville (Class B, 1997-04).

St. Philip is alive and well, facing Mendon in a quarterfinal Tuesday at Battle Creek Lakeview.

Semifinal matches for classes B and C will be held at Kellogg Arena on Thursday with semifinals set for classes A and D on Friday.

Farmington Hills Mercy will be playing Macomb Area Conference Red Division champion Romeo (42-8-1) in a Class A state quarterfinal Tuesday at Utica Ford. Mercy (56-6-2) defeated Romeo twice this season, just once with 6-foot-2 junior outside hitter Gia Milana in the lineup for Romeo.

Milana, who already has committed to Maryland, missed the start of the season due to an injury. She helped Romeo win its first regional since 1998 last year, upsetting 2012 state champion Macomb Dakota and Miss Volleyball award winner Carli Snyder.

Mercy is led by 5-5 senior outside hitter, a Miss Volleyball candidate who will play next year at Michigan.

"She's made an amazing transition from libero to outside hitter," Mercy co-coach Andrew Thompson said of Lerg, who has a .379 hitting average. "She's played well for us.

"Romeo's a very good team. We know Gia's going to get her points, but we have to minimize everyone else's and also limit her (Milana) good swings."

In other quarterfinal matches, Grosse Pointe South will be playing at Temperance Bedford, Novi will be playing Lapeer at Midland Dow and Mason will be taking on Grand Haven at Portage Northern.

In Class B, Miss Volleyball award winner Katherine Carlson and defending state champion Pontiac Notre Dame Prep plays Catholic League rival Dearborn Divine Child at Clawson. Notre Dame Prep won the lone meeting between the teams.

"We beat them earlier this season, but they were without setter Rachel Porada and she's back so they'll use their 6-2 (offense) which enables them to use more hitters," Notre Dame Prep coach Becky Wroubel said. "We're going to have to try and slow them down."

State quarterfinals

All matches are on Tuesday

Class A

Grand Haven vs. Mason, 6:30 p.m., at Portage Northern

Novi vs. Lapeer, 6:30 p.m., at Midland Dow

Farmington Hills Mercy vs. Romeo, 7 p.m. at Utica Ford

Grosse Pointe South at Temperance Bedford, 7 p.m.

Class B

Battle Creek Harper Creek vs. Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard, 6:30 p.m. at Parma Western

Lake Odessa Lakewood vs. Ada Forest Hills Eastern, 7 p.m. at Portland

North Branch vs. Cadillac, 7 p.m. at Pinconning

Dearnborn Divine Child vs. Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, 6:30 p.m. at Clawson

Class C

Roscommon vs. Calumet, 6 p.m. at Manistique

Schoolcraft vs. Ravenna, 7 p.m. at Kalamazoo Loy Norrix

Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central at Concord, 7 p.m.

Unionville-Sebewaing Area vs. Brown City, 7 p.m. at Burton Bendle

Class D

Battle Creek St. Philip vs. Mendon, 7 p.m. at Battle Creek Lakeview

Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes vs. Marine City Cardinal Mooney, 7 p.m. at Lapeer

Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart vs. Leland, 7 p.m. at Mason County Central

Onaway vs. Stephenson, 7 p.m. at Manistique