Farmington Hills Mercy’s Julia Bishop sets the ball during a practice Sept. 14. Bishop sees the Marlins’ offense as a strength this season.

Farmington Hills Mercy’s Julia Bishop sets the ball during a practice Sept. 14. Bishop sees the Marlins’ offense as a strength this season.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Mercy volleyball ready to compete

By: Zachary Manning | Farmington Press | Published September 17, 2020

 Farmington Hills Mercy’s Ellie Tisko goes to spike the ball during a Sept. 14 practice. Tisko was named Division 1 Third Team All-State last season.

Farmington Hills Mercy’s Ellie Tisko goes to spike the ball during a Sept. 14 practice. Tisko was named Division 1 Third Team All-State last season.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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FARMINGTON HILLS — When you’ve had as much success as the Farmington Hills Mercy volleyball team over the last decade, the expectations are going to be high, year in and year out.

After winning a Division 1 state title last season, the first in program history, many are wondering if the Marlins can earn back-to-back championships. Novi High was the last team to accomplish the feat in D-1, winning three straight from 2015 to 2017.

But the Marlins have stuck to an approach they’ve used throughout Loretta Vogel’s time as coach. They are going to worry about each point and each game rather than looking at the long-term.

That’s not to say they don’t want to win the state title, because they do. The Marlins just don’t want to lose focus on the little things that will help them get to that point.

“To win a state title, so many factors really need to be in your favor,” Vogel said. “You need to make sure people don’t get sick, get injured, so many things.”

Mercy will have to replace three players from last year’s team, one being Gatorade Player of the Year/Miss Volleyball Jess Mruzik. Mruzik is now playing at the University of Michigan.

The program will not be left in incapable hands, however, with the Marlins having a few options to take over that top-hitting role. Senior Charli Atiemo returns after collecting D-1 First Team All-State honors, while senior Ellie Tikso earned Third Team All-State honors.

Another big help to the Marlins will be the return of First Team All-State setter Julia Bishop. The senior is committed to Michigan State University and will be looking to give Mercy its second consecutive Miss Volleyball winner.

With a strong setter and a pair of top-tier hitters returning, Bishop sees the Marlins’ offense becoming very diverse.

“I think our offense is one of our strongest parts. We have such a fast offense, and we obviously want to keep speeding it up this year,” Bishop said.

A big motivating factor for the Mercy volleyball team is the tradition of the program.

The Marlins know what it means to wear the jersey and don’t take it lightly.

With a rich history of winning, they are focused on maintaining that culture of being a team that can compete against the state’s best, while upholding a high level of sportsmanship.

“Mercy’s just one of those schools that, if you get the opportunity to represent it, then you have to represent it well,” Bishop said. “I’m just beyond thankful to be able to put the jersey on one more year and hopefully do some really good things with it on.”

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