Champion Eddies land four on All-Wolverine Conference first team
EDWARDSBURG — Wolverine Conference champion Edwardsburg had four players named first-team All-Wolverine Conference and five players selected overall by the league coaches.
The Eddies, who went 8-0 to successfully defend their conference championship, remain alive in the Division 2 Michigan High School Athletic Association state playoffs.
Edwardsburg is scheduled to face No. 1-ranked Grand Rapids Christian in the quarterfinals when and if the winter sports season is completed.
The governor’s office and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services placed the state on hold Nov. 15. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that the state would take a three-week pause as COVID-19 case numbers spiked. The break included no in-person learning at high schools and colleges, and no high school sports.
The three-week pause is scheduled to end Tuesday, with fall sports state tournaments in volleyball, swimming and diving, as well as football, to resume on Wednesday.
All-Wolverine Conference first-team selections for the Eddies were senior Brooklyn Broadway, senior Paige Miller, senior Sophie Overmyer and senior Emma Strefling. Macey Laubach, a junior, was a second-team pick.
“I’m incredibly proud of this entire team,” said Edwardsburg coach Nikki Bush. “To land five girls on all-conference with four of them being first team is amazing. It really goes to show the depth of the team we have this year. I think our seniors did an amazing job of stepping up when there were so many factors threatening our season.
Bush said that being able to count on her hitters night in and night out was a key to the team’s success.
Miller, Overmyer and Laubach combined for 746 kills. Strefling added another 95 kills from her setting position. She also had 882 assists.
Defensively, all five players contributed, either with blocks or digs. Strefling had a team-high 321 digs, while Overmyer had 236. Broadway, despite missing three-quarters of the season with a wrist injury, finished with 181 digs.
Laubach, Miller and Overmyer combined for 111 blocks.
“I think the biggest factor that set us apart this year was the amount of hitters we could count on,” Bush said. “Laubach and Overmyer are pretty close in kills this year. Miller was such a powerhouse in the middle. I think there was concern this year with replacing Hack from last season, but Miller stepped in and filled the shoes perfectly.
“Of course, I have to mention Strefling and Broadway. Obviously, Strefling is a huge asset and can essentially set a ball wherever she wants. There is a definite advantage to have a strong setter running your offense. Broadway only entered the season in mid-October. She had a car accident in the beginning of season and broke her wrist. We had senior Bays step in, and she did a great job while Broadway was on the mend. Once Broadway was back, it was like she never missed six weeks of season. Our serve receive average went up and we had our defensive leader back.”
Dowagiac, which finished seventh in the final standing, had Allie Conner and Megan Davis earn second-team all-conference, while Caleigh Wimberley was an honorable mention pick.
Conner is a three-year starter for the Chieftains. She played libero and was an outside hitter.
“Allie is an outstanding student-athlete who evolved into a complete volleyball player,” said Dowagiac coach Tony Hooley. “She went from a starting outside hitter in 2019 to our libero in 2020. She also filled in at setter during many practices. I will miss her versatility, stellar defense and leadership. She is an unshakeable competitor that gave us stability during a season of constant ups and downs. She would make a great coach in the future.
Davis, who is a junior, is also a three-year starter for Dowagiac at outside hitter.
“Megan can be a beast at the net with her great vertical and quick arm swing,” Hooley said. “She is a quiet and humble player who can be just as accomplished in the back row as in the front row. She will be a ‘go-to’ player next year for sure if we are going to be competitive. Her coachability and work ethic is a guarantee for future success.”
Wimberley, who is a sophomore, was another of Dowagiac’s outside hitters in her second season on the varsity.
“Everything I said about Allie and Megan, I could say about Caleigh,” Hooley said. “She is an exciting young talent that will try to outplay anyone on the court. She already demonstrates strong leadership and has a tremendous work ethic. She is extremely coachable and fearless in trying new things to expand her arsenal at the net. She was our best passer in 2020 and will form a potent 1-2 punch with Meg at outside hitter next season.
Otsego’s Dani Little was named Coach of the Year. The Bulldogs finished fourth in the final standings.
ALL-WOLVERINE CONFERENCE VOLLEYBALL
- Olivia Ott, Allegan
- Brooklyn Broadway, Edwardsburg
- Paige Miller, Edwardsburg
- Sophie Overmyer, Edwardsburg
- Emma Strefling, Edwardsburg
- Erikah Bower, Otsego
- Vannessa Robinson, Plainwell
- Erika Reed, Sturgis
- Kali Heivilin, Three Rivers
- Chloe Stevens, Vicksburg
Coach of the Year
- Dani Little, Otsego
- Allie Conner, Dowagiac
- Megan Davis, Dowagiac
- Macey Laubach, Edwardsburg
- Jenna Ballman, Otsego
- Emma Hasse, Paw Paw
- Audrey Straka, Paw Paw
- Catelyn Engle, Plainwell
- Morgan Hayward, Plainwell
- Shantel Blyly, Three Rivers
- Caitlin Burr, Vicksburg
- Hannah Vallier, Vicksburg
- Caleigh Wimberley, Dowagiac
- Aly Aldrich, Otsego
- McKenzie Wilson, Paw Paw
- Grace Hybels, Plainwell
- Harlie Blum, Sturgis
- Megan Hecht, Sturgis
- Addison Nettleman, Sturgis
- Gabby Charvat, Three Rivers
- Ellania Haifley, Three Rivers
- Rylie Kelley, Three Rivers
- Karyna Lewis, Vicksburg