Volleyball

High school volleyball: Prairie Ridge's Mackenzie Garis commits to Eastern Michigan

Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com
Prairie Ridge's Mackenzie Garis (left) and Erin McNeil celebrate during the Class 4A Crystal Lake South Regional final against Crystal Lake South on Oct. 27, 2016. Garis on Thursday committed to play volleyball at Eastern Michiagan.
Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com Prairie Ridge's Mackenzie Garis (left) and Erin McNeil celebrate during the Class 4A Crystal Lake South Regional final against Crystal Lake South on Oct. 27, 2016. Garis on Thursday committed to play volleyball at Eastern Michiagan.

Mackenzie Garis knew she had found everything she wanted in a college when she visited Eastern Michigan’s campus Tuesday in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

So the Prairie Ridge senior was thrilled when the Eagles offered her a spot on the team. She announced her commitment to Eastern Michigan via Twitter on Thursday.

“I wanted to play D-I volleyball, and I wanted to go to a school with a lot of students,” Garis said. “I love the campus and the team and the coaches. It all fell into place.”

The libero has helped the Wolves to IHSA Class 4A regional titles in each of the past two seasons. When her senior season gets going this fall, it will be her fourth on the varsity team. 

Garis used to play setter before moving to libero. She said that versatility is one of the things that the Eastern Michigan coaches like about her. 

Eastern Michigan coach Kimi Olson enters her third season in charge of the program this fall. The Eagles, who compete in the Mid-American Conference, finished 8-21 last season. 

Garis likes Olson’s enthusiasm at practice. 

“She brings a lot of energy to the gym, which is something I love because it’s something I think a team needs,” Garis said. “She’s always pushing her team harder to be better. She just has a lot of positive energy about her program.”

Garis, who plays club ball at Club Fusion in Marengo, plays with a similar type of energy. 

“A lot of the girls look toward me if we’re down in the game to bring us back up. I’m always jumping everywhere when we get a point and have a lot of energy. I think that’s good for a team to have.” 

Prairie Ridge coach Stefanie Otto said Garis and Olson have similar upbeat attitudes toward the game. 

“Mackenzie is a real go-getter,” Otto said. “She’s got super energy, and she really picks up her team – super positive; a great team player. We love having her on the court.”

Garis said she also had spoken with Illinois State and a few other schools. Once she saw Eastern Michigan's campus, she knew that’s where she wanted to be. 

“I just love the school,” Garis said. “The school has such a great family and feel to it. I know that once I step on that campus, I’m going to feel welcome right away.”

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