by Peter Jakey–Managing Editor
It is no surprise what schools advanced from Class D district semifinal games in Rogers City Tuesday night.
Volleyball titans Onaway and Rogers are matched up in today’s (Thursday) final that will be played in Rogers City at 6 p.m. with the winner advancing to next week’s regional tournament in Bellaire. Onaway defeated Rogers City during the regular season, but the Hurons won the county tournament, Oct. 25.
Onaway swept Posen in the early game and Rogers City won its final three games to move on, but it was far from easy for the Lady Hurons, who had to fend off a mighty upset bid by Hillman.
Not many saw that kind of effort coming from the visiting Lady Tigers, except for Rogers City coach Jackie Quaine.
“They came out to play,” said Quaine, who complimented Amy Moir’s program. “She has a nice bunch of athletes over there. I thought it would be a good match.”
The scores were 25-27, 25-11, 25-20 and 25-22.
“They were very scrappy and digging up balls,” she said. “They made us work.”
Quaine believes her squad’s blocking prowess in the match was the difference.
“Our blocking was phenomenal. It the best it has ever been,” said Quaine. “That first game was nerves and we needed to get that out of the way.”
Game one had all the makings of a winner-take-all match, but Hillman came out playing better with early leads that forced Quaine to call timeout twice. The Hurons were down by seven (14-21), before mounting a comeback bid with kills by Kayla Rabeau and a block and an ace from Taylor Fleming. Rabeau made a block of her own to tie the score at 22.
The teams went back-and-fourth as the score went up. Jayna Hance made the save of the night with a diving dig, followed by a Catheryn Hart kill. Both teams refused to let the ball hit the floor and Hillman somehow was able to gut out the win.
Game two was all Rogers City as Taylor Fleming blasted early kills into the floor to give the Hurons the early lead and set the tone. Rabeau’s tip to the back of the court made it 12-2 behind Hannah Fleming’s 10 straight points.
When Rogers City went up 7-4 in game three, Hillman came back to tie it at 8-8 and when the Hurons went up 14-11, Hillman came back to tie it again.
Blocks on three consecutive plays and a Taylor Fleming kill made it 18-14. It was a scoring spurt that held up. Kills from Hart and Rabeau sewed up game three.
Rogers City needed one more, but again, Hillman was not ready to hand it away, building another seven point lead, 12-19, when Rabeau helped ignite a 7-0 scoring swing with three straight blasts. With her back to the net, she bumped a ball over the net, to finally give the orange and black the lead.
Hillman came back with the next three and was three points from forcing a fifth and deciding game, but another Rabeau kill, a mistake by Hillman and a perfect unassisted block from Shawna McDonald punched Rogers City’s ticket to the district title match with rival Onaway.
Rabeau finished with 22 kills. “She plays so smart and aggressive,” said Quaine. “She sees the open spots. She was our go-to girl.”
LAST WEEK, Rogers City captured both the county championship Oct. 25 and the North Star League (NSL) championship last Saturday. First the Hurons defeated Posen (25-15, 25-9, 15-7) and then Onaway (25-14, 25-16, 15-10) to take the annual challenge between the three county schools. Rabeau had 24 kills, seven ace serves and 15 digs. Taylor Fleming had 19 kills, six aces and 18 digs while Jayna Hance had 17 digs.
Kristin Brege had 48 assists and Maddie Hincka added seven assists while Hannah Fleming recorded eight digs. Hart had 13 kills and three blocks.
“The girls played well and smart. Right away we started off with three aces,” said coach Jackie Quaine. “They played very consistently and our passing was terrific.”
The team served up 22 ace serves in the tournament played at Posen High School.
The Hurons took home the NSL championship Saturday in games played at Whittemore-Prescott High School.
Rogers City went undefeated in match play taking Whittemore-Prescott (25-11, 25-10), Oscoda (25-12, 25-15), Mio (25-22, 25-17), and Alcona (25-13, 25-17).
That set up a showdown between the top four teams in bracket play. The Hurons topped Oscoda 25-11 and 25-4 to move on to the championship match with Alcona. Again the Hurons swept the Tigers 25-13 and 25-20.
Junior middle hitter Taylor Fleming had 43 kills and 11 blocks.
Rabeau added 25 kills and 25 blocks, Hart had 13 kills while Hance recorded 44 digs.
Rabeau served up 21 aces and Hannah Fleming added 13 aces serves, part of 56 aces for the Hurons on the day. Brege had 77 set assists on the day.
Onaway eliminates Posen with semifinal sweep
The Lady Cardinals were rock-solid in their semifinal match win over Posen in the early game Tuesday and now have a shot at a district crown.
The scores against the Lady Vikings were 25-16, 25-15 and 25-13.
“After the initial points of the match, I thought the girls settled down and played pretty efficiently,” said Onaway coach Steve Watson. “There were a couple hiccups, but overall we did a good job of attacking the ball under control with solid serving.”
Calley Selke led the stat sheet at the end of the night with 13 kills and 13 digs, while Maddie McLean added nine kills and 12 digs.
Posen stayed with Onaway through the first one-third of game one, with the scored tied at seven, but Onaway got kills from Kennedy Crawford and Selke before Viking coach Lori Graham called timeout. It did not help, as Onaway came out and rattled off the next five and were up 15-8. It’s all the Cardinals needed to lock up the first victory.
Again the score was tied at seven in game two when Mallorie Neelis, who was called up from the junior varsity for district action, shined at the serving line with an impressive jump serve. She fired off four aces to make the score, 13-7. She would end the night with five.
At 14-9, McLean came up with three kills and Crawford had an ace for a comfortable 18-10 lead and coasted the rest of the way.
In game three, Onaway had an early 7-4 lead when Crawford nailed a kill with Kayanna Dean at the serving line. Dean then did her part with four straight aces. She would have six before the final whistle.
Later, Kaitlyn Boettger and Jaclyn Nash teamed up for an impressive block to pad the lead at 17-5. A few moments after that, Daria Domke and Boettger notched kills to up the score to 20-6.
Posen had a scoring run at the end, but it was too little too late.
“I am pretty happy,” said Graham. “Onaway is pretty tough competition. Our defense came a long way this season. Really, we just could not execute on offense tonight. (Onaway) was picking up everything we were sending over.”
It was the final match for seniors Cami LaTulip, Morgan Dubie, Arianne Chojnacki, Brianna Kuffel, Faith E. Romel and Megan Rasmussen.
LaTulip had six kills and three blocks, while Romel and Chojnacki both had 13 digs.
For Onaway, Nash had 34 assists, nine digs; Domke seven digs and Crawford eight kills, six digs.
Last Saturday, Posen lost to Hale at the onset of the conference tournament and that set the tone for the day.
They split with Au Gres and lost to Fairview, and again to Hale. LaTulip had 17 kills, Brooke Ciarkowski 14, while Hannah Stone had 32 assists.