CALUMET - Calumet had too many offensive weapons for Hancock Tuesday, though the Bulldogs at least made the Copper Kings use most of their arsenal.
Hancock improved greatly over the course of the match, but could not stave off a 3-1 (25-12, 25-16, 24-26, 25-13) defeat in WestPAC play.
"Their fast offense still hurt us. We're not a big team, either, and so trying to get a strong block up against them with their bigger hitters was tough for us," Hancock coach Kristan Schuster said.
Calumet’s Kristy Lasanen serves during the second set of Tuesday’s home match against Hancock. (Brandon?Veale/Daily Mining Gazette)
Calumet got at least six kills from five different hitters, including a double-digit total from both Ellen Twardzik (14) and Lexie Rowe (13).
"Our offense is across the net. We try to get all five hitters involved, including the setter," coach Lisa Twardzik said.
Ellen Twardzik has been a go-to girl all season for the Copper Kings, but Rowe pounded the ball just as hard.
"In practice every day, I've been working on trying to snap down. I'm working hard, getting my swing harder and I'm glad it happened today in the match," Rowe said.
Both Ellen Twardzik and Rowe are just sophomores.
Calumet got off to the much better start, putting up runs of four, five, six and seven points to make set one rather lopsided. However, Hancock caught on and started passing the ball at least a little better from then on.
"I think we kind of settled down. We're a strong passing team and that's the first team we've come across that hits that hard at us and runs a faster offense. So, we made some adjustments to that, being able to react sooner to it," Schuster said.
It didn't save the Bulldogs in time to win the second set, though that had more to do with Hancock's inability to get much together offensively, scoring more points on Calumet net violations (four) than it did on its own serve (three).
In the third, Hancock contended from the get-go, leading 15-9 midway and holding off a six-point run from Terra Erkkila's serve to keep the Kings either even or behind much of the way.
"I just told them now, 'I'm so impressed with how we've improved. Every match, every set we go out there and play, we play better. We really started off slow this year, and I really think we're heading in the right direction," Schuster said after the match.
The fourth set, however, looked more like the first two. Hancock never scored more than two points in succession and the Copper Kings hit their way home with relative ease, wrapping it up on Molly Loukus's sixth and final kill.
"I felt a majority of the time, the girls did a good job passing and staying in system, which made it easy for Kayleen (Anderson) to set for our hitters."
Anderson had 37 assists, with Loretta Anderson adding eight kills and Kristy Lasanen seven. Defensively, Erkkila had a team-best 27 digs.
For Hancock, Katelyn Anderson had a team-best six kills, while Taylor Mattson served five aces. Nicole Anderson had 17 assists. Defensively, libero Jen Hannon posted 14 digs.
The Bulldogs return to action next Tuesday at West Iron County, but Calumet is back in action Thursday with another tough home league match against Houghton.
Calumet scored three in a row to tie it at 24, but Hancock's Amanda Manninen broke the tie with a kill, followed by a Calumet hitting error.