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Volleyball: Calumet sweeps Westwood, 3-0

CALUMET — The Calumet girls’ volleyball team came out firing Thursday evening, thoroughly dominating the visiting Westwood Patriots in a WestPAC conference matchup.

The Copper Kings jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first set and never looked back, taking a straight-set victory (25-3, 25-9, 25-15).

After Westwood served to open the match and lost that first point, Calumet junior Marybeth Halonen served for 13 straight points, giving Calumet that insurmountable lead. Westwood struggled mightily with back row defense from the outset and only their own service errors could slow down the Copper Kings. Two of the three Westwood points in the first set were on Calumet serves — one in the net and one out of bounds.

“We served really tough and the girls did a good job of being aggressive coming out of service, trying to run a fast offense,” said Calumet coach Kate Bonacorsi of the fast start. “So we were able to just be in (an offensive) system a lot.”

This was Calumet’s second match after having to take a two-week break due to all Houghton County schools closing recently due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak, but the Kings looked strong and in mid-season form. “I think we’ve kind of found our footing again and had a couple good practices this week,” Bonacorsi said. “So I think we’re in decent shape and (we’ll) keep working to get back to where we want to be.”

Westwood was able to adjust somewhat and improve as the match went on, but the Kings were firmly in control for the entirety of the contest. In the second set, the score stayed close in the beginning with a deadlock at 3-3 early on.

But again Halonen gapped the Patriots, serving four straight points to give the Kings some breathing room. Westwood was able to control the damage — making some spectacular saves at times — and limit Calumet to only three- or four-point runs for the rest of the set. However, the Kings prevailed with consistent, sound play to close out the second set comfortably, if not quite as dominating.

Throughout the match, Westwood senior Livvie Wood did her best to rally the Patriots, and she was able to help Westwood to its first lead of the night, serving them to 2-0 to start the third set. There was a 3-3 tie again, but Calumet found the run they needed to put Westwood behind them again. This time Kings’ sophomore Helen Beiring served seven straight points and Calumet lead the final frame by a 10-3 margin. The Kings cruised to match point, but Weswood did force three rallies before finally capitulating.

“We’ve never played a team that fast before,” said Westwood coach Milton Braga of the host Kings. “I think this was a great lesson for (my team). I think it’s going to help us in the future.”

Both teams enter conference tournament play this weekend, with an east and west divisional round-robin. The top two teams from each group then meet up in Calumet the following weekend for the conference championship.

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