Mercy’s Campbell Flynn named Gatorade Michigan Volleyball Player of the Year

Mercy’s Campbell Flynn is pictured against a backdrop of the American flag and wearing a gold medal she won as a member of Team USA National volleyball team in Croatia, before coming home to lead the Marlins to a state championship. Topping it all off, Flynn was named the Gatorade Michigan Volleyball Player of the Year. (Photo courtesy of Campbell Flynn)

FARMINGTON HILLS — “Unbelievable!”

That’s what Loretta Vogel, coach of Mercy volleyball, exclaimed amidst the pandemonium in Battle Creek’s Kellogg Arena back in November celebrating the Marlins’ Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 1 championship.

A couple of weeks ago, she uttered the word again, though in a more reserved fashion, on the news that Marlins junior setter Campbell Flynn had been named the Gatorade Michigan Volleyball Player of the Year.

“Usually seniors win that award,” Vogel said although that pattern was broken in the last four years by a pair of superb Catholic High School League volleyballers, Mercy’s Jess Mruzik, who won as a junior and senior in 2019 and 2020, followed by Bloomfield Hills Marian’s Ava Brizard in 2021 and 2022.

Flynn’s volleyball journey started as a middle schooler when she gave up on basketball, perhaps influenced by her mother, Shayne, who played at Bowling Green State University, and really blossomed when she arrived at Mercy and made the varsity as a freshman.

Standing 6-foot-3, she was an all-around player during her sophomore season as she led the team with 344 kills while producing 666 assists, 105 aces, 295 digs and 35 total blocks in 108 sets played.

Last summer, Flynn competed with 20 other girls for the Under 19 USA National team in Colorado Springs and made the final cut of 12 who traveled to Croatia along with 23 other teams for the world championships Aug. 1-11.

“There was no time for sightseeing,” she said. “Our daily schedule was breakfast, practice, lunch, film, nap, practice, dinner, then a match.”

The USA won all 14 matches it played, topped off by a dramatic 3-2 comeback win over Turkey (20-25, 23-25, 25-22, 25-16, 15-10) for the gold medal and became the first girls U19 world champs.

After a two-day stopover in California, Flynn and four of her U19 team mates went to Mexico for the Under 21 championships. They finished sixth with a 4-4 record.

“Winning was amazing, but also getting sixth was crazy because we were such a young team,” she said.

“But I wouldn’t take it back. I learned so much getting to play with amazing competitive people, to see different techniques and different styles of coaching and playing.”

Flynn missed the first three days of school. “I should have taken more time off. I was fighting a cold. I wasn’t feeling my best.”

The Team USA experience “took a lot out of her physically,” Vogel said. “You could tell Campbell just didn’t feel well. Probably by the week of (MHSAA) districts (in late October) Campbell was more Campbell.”

The Marlins, unranked with an unimpressive 13-12-3 record entering the state tournament, went 21-3 in the playoffs for the state championship, finishing with its most severe test, a come-from-behind 3-2 victory against Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern.

“Campbell is such a presence on the court,” Vogel said, “Opponents have to be concerned with what she’s going to do. She’s truly a quarterback for volleyball. It’s an area of high importance. When you have a setter of Campbell’s ability she just makes everything run smoothly. She’s very capable of presenting a hittable ball at any time.”

Flynn recorded 553 assists, 137 digs and 124 kills despite missing more than half of Mercy’s season, heading into her senior year with 1,910 assists and 737 kills in her prep volleyball career.

Flynn, 17, has verbally committed to Nebraska. “I always wanted to play at Nebraska, and it was my dream,” she said. “They have been following me since I was 13. I love their coaching staff and volleyball is super big at Nebraska.”

She’s the third Gatorade Michigan VOY from Mercy. Along with Mruzik, the other winner was Maddy Doyle in 2012. Two other winners from Marian are Alex Lovell in 2011 and Rachel Charles in 2010.

Pontiac Notre Dame Prep had two VOY winners: Katherine Carlson in 2015 and Molly Coldren in 2008.

“Campbell is a remarkable athlete,” Vogel said.

Might we add: “Unbelievable!”

Contact Don Horkey at [email protected].


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