Defending champ Romeo leads Detroit News' top volleyball teams

David Goricki
The Detroit News

Romeo has been one of the dominant volleyball teams in the state the past couple years, and there’s no reason to believe things will be different this season with all-state outside hitter Gia Milana returning from the Class A state championship team.

Milana, a 6-foot-2 senior headed to Maryland, is among a handful of starters back, making Romeo a legitimate threat to repeat and No. 1 in The News preseason poll.

“People talk about repeating and that is an expectation that everyone has, but right now my expectation to this season is to continue to get better in practice and in games,” Romeo coach Stacy Williams said. “Our success is based on commitment to each other and growth. By pushing the work effort in practice and then using those lessons in games our long-range goal can happen.”

Setter Bre Olley and middle blocker Erica Labaere (both seniors) also return, along with outside Jodie Kelly and middle blocker Payton Klein (both juniors).

2. Novi (54-6-1), Class A

Novi pushed Romeo to the brink before losing in the state championship in five games. Novi returns an experienced group, led by sophomore S Erin O’Leary (Michigan), senior all-state OH Victoria Iacobelli, senior OH Paulina Iacobelli, junior RSH Ally Cummings and senior S Christina Hudgens.

3. Lake Orion (59-11-2), Class A

Lake Orion returns the majority of its starters, including all-state S Kori Varney, OH Natalie Wehner, MHs Wies Hurkmans and Marley Redd and D Katelyn Budreau. Coach Tony Scavarda’s team also benefits from some talented Waterford Lakes transfers — OH Courtney Wightman (Oakland) and D Lindsay Wightman.

4. Clarkston (55-7-1), Class A

Clarkston remained the premier team in the OAA, winning the Red Division an eighth straight year. Coach Kelly Avenall returns five starters, including OH/S Abbey Malinowski, MHs Maggie Collins and Emma Curd, L Ashley Schwartz and OH Sarah Austin.

5. Farmington Hills Mercy (55-7-2), Class A

Mercy must rebuild after losing OH Jenna Lerg (Michigan), but returns some top talent in junior S Liz Susitko, senior OH Colleen Hadley and sophomore OH Lauren Hunter.

5. Marysville (43-8-1), Class B

Coach Ryan Welser will have to find a way to fill the hole left by the departure of MB Ali Bastianelli (Illinois), but has four starters back, including MH Payton Husson, S Devan Valko, L Mikayla Morgan and OH Bailey Bowns.