First-year coach Molly Creek has Erie on track for a third consecutive appearance in regionals.
First-year coach Molly Creek has Erie on track for a third consecutive appearance in regionals. (Brad Cochi/ BoCoPreps.com)

ERIE — Her junior season was a strong one and Erie's Mya Michaelson has taken another impressive step forward as a senior in 2017.

Top five in her conference in most offensive statistical categories, Michaelson currently leads the Tri-Valley League with a .459 hitting percentage. She also leads the Tigers' balanced attack with 211 kills on top of leading the team in blocks. Statistically, speaking, Michaelson is top-notch.

From Michaelson's perspective, however, her progression in terms of mental toughness and leadership ability have been the defining characteristics of her final prep campaign.

"I definitely think that from last year to this year, I've worked a lot on my mental game," Michaelson said. "I don't get down on myself as much anymore and I really feel like I'm able to be there for my team even when things aren't going well for me."

If there was a point this season when things weren't going well for Michaelson, who plays club volleyball at 303 Volleyball Academy, it hasn't come recently. The top offensive weapon in the middle of the Tigers' middle-heavy offense, Michaelson has posted double-digit kills in her last seven matches. During that stretch, the Tigers (12-5, 5-4 Tri-Valley) have won six of seven matches.


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Committed to play next season at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Michaelson is equally as proud of her team's success as her own statistical achievements. After all, she has been on the varsity roster through the transition from 2014 when the Tigers went 6-17 through the past two seasons that ended with the Tigers qualifying for regionals. Focusing on smaller goals in order to accomplish larger ones, Michaelson said, has made a big difference in the Tigers' success.

"Each year, we've focused less on getting to regionals and more on each match and each week at a time," Michaelson said. "That's really worked well for us."

Entering the 2017 season with back-to-back regional appearances under their belt, the Tigers are on track for a third under first-year head coach Molly Creek. Having not reached the state tournament since 1994, Michaelson and the Tigers certainly have things moving in the right direction.

"Our team and practice environment are great," Creek said. "All the girls will tell you that they really can't take any breaks at practice. That's how we need to play in games so we do a lot of our drills until they accomplish the goal, whether it takes two minutes or 10 minutes. It's really all about forcing them to work as a team and overcome adversity."

Brad Cochi: cochib@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BradCochi