Top 10 volleyball players: Novi’s O’Leary leads list
Novi — Erin O’Leary had a busy summer.
After helping Novi reach the Class A state championship match the last two years (winning last season), O’Leary spent some time in Puerto Rico where she was playing for the U.S. Under-18 National team.
Now, however, her focus is on another state title.
“Of course there is pressure, but we played all last season with a lot of pressure and we learned how to use it as a motivating force,” said O’Leary, a 5-foot-10 junior setter and Michigan commit who had 1,371 assists, 225 kills, 321 digs and 86 aces last season.
Novi coach Jennifer Cottrill, for one, is happy to have O’Leary on the court.
“Her skill-set is unreal, she’s on the national team because of that,” Cottrill said. “But she brings more to the table than just that and that really makes her special. She’s very calm. ... Her dad coached soccer here for 17 years, and so in her house she heard, ‘team, team, team, team’ for her whole life. That really comes across in every way.
“She’s just an elite competitor.”
O’Leary, however is not the only elite competitor opponents will have to deal with this season.
Outside hitter Ally Cummings, who was selected as a Miss Volleyball finalist, knows where the sets will be coming from. And that, she hopes, will help her improve on her 398 kills from last year.
“She’s really great at being a calming presence on the court,” Cummings said of O’Leary. “We can always rely on her and we know if the ball is going to her that we’ll always get a good touch on it.”
2. Ally Cummings, 5-11, Sr., OH, Novi: A Miss Volleyball finalist and Valparaiso commit, Cummings had 398 kills and a .412 hitting percentage last season. “She’s a very efficient attacker and she has a really fast high-arm swing,” coach Jennifer Cottrill said.
3. Emily Martin, 5-11, Sr., OH, Northville: Martin, a Miss Volleyball finalist, is a big hitter and strong all-around player. She had 402 kills and a .311 hitting percentage last season. “She’s a phenomenal athlete,” coach Julie Fisette said. Martin will play at Oakland.
4. Jurnee Tipton, 5-9, Sr., OH, Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard: Tipton had a breakout year — 486 kills and .358 hitting percentage — as Gabriel Richard went undefeated en route to the the Class B state title. Tipton is being recruited by several Division 1 teams, including Michigan State.
5. Stefanie Jankiewicz, 5-10, Sr., OH, Farmington Hills Harrison: Jankiewicz was Harrison’s MVP last season, with 528 kills, 346 digs and 123 aces. She will play at Illinois State.
6. Abbey Malinowski, 6-1, Jr., MH, Clarkston: Malinowski had 495 kills, 347 digs, 65 blocks and 46 aces last season. “Abbey is a great shot-maker and attacks the ball with so much velocity, that it is hard for opponents to defend her,” coach Kelly Pinner said. Malinowski will play at Michigan.
7. Jess Mruzik, 6-1, Fr., OH, Farmington Hills Mercy: Mruzik is expected to be an immediate impact player — she can play outside hitter and setter.
8. Lauren Wenzel, 6-1, Jr., MH, Birmingham Marian: Wenzel is expected to be a force after missing the majority of last season with mononucleosis. “She’s very athletic and jumps well,” coach Angela Kalczynski said. Wenzel will play at Notre Dame.
9. Maddy Chinn, 6-3, So., OH, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep: Chinn is dominating at the net and is a strong all-around player. “She is a six rotation player, and not many tall girls do this anymore,” coach Betty Wroubel said.
10. Abryanna Cannon, 6-1, Jr., OH, Novi: A transfer from Traverse City West, Cannon is a physical presence at the net. “She an elite level player and pretty physical,” Cottrill said. Cannon will play at Notre Dame.