Troy — Novi looked every bit the part of the No. 1 volleyball team in the state Tuesday night, dominating No. 9 Birmingham Marian 25-14, 25-9, 25-12 in a Class A quarterfinal sweep that lasted just over an hour.
Now, Novi (52-1) will return to Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek Friday in hopes of repeating as state champions.
And, 6-foot-1 junior outside hitter Abryanna Cannon is thrilled to be a part of the show.
Cannon, who transferred from Traverse City West, was the best player on the floor and that’s saying a lot. Junior setter Erin O’Leary is a Michigan commit and member of the U.S. Under-18 National team and outside hitter Ally Cummings is the Miss Volleyball runnerup.
Cannon had 14 kills and a .591 hitting percentage. She also had 11 service points during Game No. 2, including seven straight to open up an 8-2 lead and then the final four to close out the game.
“Honestly, it’s all a team effort since I’m an outside hitter and it takes the pass and the set in order for me to get a kill,” said Cannon, a Notre Dame commit. “Our defense was amazing. Everybody in the back row did their jobs, my setter (O'Leary) was awesome. She’s amazing, she can put any ball where you want to go. It was a really good team effort.
“I’m so excited. The thought we’re going to Battle Creek is awesome, especially being with my team in Battle Creek to just spend that moment with them.”
Cummings had high praise for Cannon, saying: “She’s done so well improving every single game, every single match. If you look at our film from the beginning of the year to now, it’s like a new person. She’s been amazing, especially during the postseason. She’s playing her best.”
Novi coach Jennifer Cottrill said it was her team’s best effort of the season. And, the stats prove it with the Wildcats hitting at a .479 clip with junior Kathryn Ellison coming through with seven kills and a .429 clip, Cummings, eight kills and nine digs and O’Leary, 31 assists and seven digs. Middle blocker Jaeda Porter and libero Claire Pinkerton also played well.
Still, Cottrill was beaming with Cannon who had her struggles at times while learning the system before reaching her present high level of play.
“There were some growing pains there, but kudos to her for sticking with it and not getting frustrated and just learning and understanding our system,” pointed out Cottrill of Cannon. “She’s been amazing in the postseason. It’s very impressive that she’s doing what she’s doing, offensively, serve receive, defensively, serving, just her all-around game. She's phenomenal.”
It will be Novi’s third straight trip to Battle Creek, losing to Romeo in the title match in 2014 before defeating Romeo in last year’s championship match. The Wildcats are now 106-3 during the last two years.
“We have a lot of players who have been there for two years so it was definitely a goal of ours to get back there so it’s a relief," said Cottrill of reaching Battle Creek. "It's exciting and it’s a very unique atmosphere and experience to go there and play there so it’s an honor to make it to that point.”
■ Novi 3, Birmingham Marian 0
■ Fenton 3, Midland 1
■ Rockford 3, Portage Central 2
■ Temperance Bedford 3, Livonia Churchill 0
Semifinals: 5:30 and 7:15 p.m. Friday, Battle Creek
■ North Branch 3, St. Clair Shores South Lake 0
■ Buchanan 3, Grant 0
■ Lake Odessa Lakewood 3, Adrian 0
■ Cadillac 3, Corunna 1
Semifinals: 5:30 and 7:15 p.m. Thursday, Battle Creek
■ Adrian Madison 3, Allen Park Cabrini 1
■ Brown City 3, Shelby 2
■ Bronson 3, Laingsburg 0
■ Calumet 3, Traverse City St. Francis 1
Semifinals: 2 and 3:45 p.m. Thursday, Battle Creek
■ Rogers City 3, Crystal Falls Forest Park 1
■ Auburn Hills Oakland Christian 3, Portland St. Patrick 1
■ Plymouth Christian 3, Mendon 1
■ Leland 3, Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart 1
Semifinals: 2 and 3:45 p.m. Friday, Battle Creek