Chippewa Hills volleyball’s early-season success continues with sweep of Crossroads

SPIKE: Crossroads Charter Academy’s Maya Myers (12) and Chippewa Hills’ Jenna Lentz (29) jump for the ball on Wednesday in nonleague action. (Pioneer photo/Ryan Zuke)

SPIKE: Crossroads Charter Academy’s Maya Myers (12) and Chippewa Hills’ Jenna Lentz (29) jump for the ball on Wednesday in nonleague action. (Pioneer photo/Ryan Zuke)

BIG RAPIDS — Chippewa Hills has many familiar faces on its volleyball team this season, but the results through the first 11 matches have been drastically different.

The Warriors, who started last year 0-11, swept Crossroads Charter Academy 3-0 (25-16, 25-15, 25-19) on Wednesday to improve to 6-5.

Chippewa Hills returns the same team as last year with the addition of sophomore setter Alison Zolikoff. There were no seniors on the team in 2015, but the Warriors’ lineup features eight this season — a major factor in the team’s early success.

“Last year, we finished really great,” said senior Alex Bialik, referring to the team’s run to a district final. “We got used to each other at the end of the year. Now we are all used to each other and are all clicking now.”

“We are all really close with each other. CJ (Blaha) is a great coach. Everything he taught us really stuck with us over the season. We all did extra work in the offseason, worked on our skills and got better.”

The Warriors fired out to a 16-4 lead in the opening set, fueled by a 9-0 run on the serving by junior Rhianna Haynes.

“We are getting better,” said Blaha, who is in his first full season as head coach after filling in for half the season last year. “Last year was a little rocky, but to get here, you have to go through some rough patches. A lot of the players came back healthy and played club, and you can see they are starting to enjoy it. These girls are starting to figure this game out little by little.”

Chippewa Hills closed the second set on a 7-1 run.

“We work best when we are happy as a team,” said Bialik, who finished with a team-high 20 assists. “We are kind of a goofy team and all have our inside jokes. So our thing is being fun, and when we play good, it’s fun.”

CCA (4-3-1) regrouped for the third game and grabbed a 10-9 lead. After falling behind again, the Cougars rallied to tie it 19-19 before the Warriors went on a 6-0 run, capped by a Gabrielle Purdy ace.

“They now understand they need to move every single time and can’t get caught standing around,” CCA coach Amanda Brown said. “I’m hoping that sunk in completely tonight. I just want them to be confident in what they are doing. We’ve seen what they can do when they play confidently and what happens when they don’t play so confidently, and that all happened tonight.”

Haley Jankowski led the Cougars in kills, while Maya Myers was the team’s assists leader.

Senior Hailey Gady had a team-high 10 kills for Chippewa Hills, while Elle LaLonde recorded 24 digs. Bailee Stirn led the team with five aces.



Lakeview 3, Morley Stanwood 0

LAKEVIEW – The Mohawks dropped to 1-1 in the CSAA Silver on Wednesday, losing 23-25, 23-25, 13-25.

Madi Kruger led the team with 19 digs and two aces, while Brooklyn Peacock recorded a team-high seven kills. Mikayla Moore had 10 assists.


Big Rapids 5, Tri County 1

HOWARD CITY – Junior Mason Gifford had three goals and an assist to lead the Cardinals to a CSAA victory on Wednesday.

Gui Galindo and Jackson Goldsmith also scored for Big Rapids, while Alex Jones recorded an assist.

The Cardinals host Fremont on Wednesday.


Detroit Tigers 3, Chicago White Sox 2

DETROIT — Tigers outfielder J.D. Martinez singled in the tying run in the bottom of the eighth inning on Wednesday before outfielder Tyler Collins won the game in the ninth with a sacrifice fly.

Detroit starting pitcher Justin Verlander allowed two runs in seven innings and struck out nine.

The Tigers improved to 72-61 and begin a three-game series on Friday at the Kansas City Royals.


Posted by Ryan Zuke

Ryan is the sports editor for the Big Rapids Pioneer, covering local prep sports and Ferris State athletics. He can be contacted at (231) 592-8363 or

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