NEGAUNEE - Rosalie Anderson and her Negaunee High School volleyball teammates were reminded Tuesday night just how good Calumet is this season.
"They're very tough," she said after the Miners fell to the Copper Kings 3-0 (25-10, 25-16 and 25-17) in a non-conference match at Negaunee's Lakeview Memorial Gymnasium.
"It's difficult (to play Calumet, now 32-4 overall). It's a lot faster pace. They're (also) hard-hitters ... and able to move quickly."
NHS, swept by Calumet in a tournament earlier this season, led just twice in the match, 2-1 in the second set and 12-11 in the third.
"(Calumet's) skills are sound," Miners coach Annette Gleason said. "They're expert passers, play great defense and have great setting.
"It's a great learning experience to watch a team move so quickly on the court. They're a good role model of a team."
Alexis Rowe posted 11 kills and Ellen Twardzik eight for the Copper Kings, who also got five aces from Molly Loukus and 23 assists from Kayleen Anderson.
Katelyn Johnson recorded six kills for the Miners (3-11 in dual matches), while Ashley Veale turned in two kills, two aces, two solo blocks and 14 digs. Anderson added four kills and eight digs.
The Miners kept pace with Calumet early in the first set, but watched the Copper Kings break open a 7-7 deadlock with a 11-0 run behind the serving of Loukus to pull away.
"The girls realize we're getting near tournament time and need to be firing on all cylinders," Calumet coach Lisa Twardzik said. "We need to come out fast."
Said Gleason: "I was happy with our play early, but just fell apart. We stopped talking and were way too slow."
Despite a couple of kills by Anderson, the Miners couldn't stop the Copper Kings in the second set. Grace Hyrkas turned in a couple of aces, while both Kristy Lasanen and Rowe came up with two kills apiece.
"They're such a strong hitting team and don't make a lot of errors," Gleason said.
Though Veale turned in a pair of aces, and teammate Johnson an ace and a kill, the Miners weren't able to hold - or build upon - their one-point lead midway through the third set.
Lasanen recorded a couple of aces, while Ellen Twardzik came up with five kills for Calumet.
"(Terra) Erkkila did a nice job serving in Game 3," Lisa Twardzik noted. "Kayleen did a nice job setting (too). It's nice when you can deliver the ball to your target."
"When we're in our system, our team plays well."
Gleason said the Miners improved every set.
"My girls were finally getting opportunities to make kills themselves," she said. "They kept their momentum high and we kept swinging."