Volleyball: L’Anse sweeps Jeffers

L’Anse’s Maija Rice, right, hits the ball as Jeffers’ Allie Pietila, left, defends on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020, in L’Anse, Mich. (Eddie O’Neill/The Daily Mining Gazette)

L’ANSE — While the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has wreaked havoc on many facets of life, high school fall sports has not escaped its chaotic path.

Teams have held fewer practices, with canceled games and players quit because they did not want to deal with all of the COVID-19 restrictions.

The Jeffers Jets volleyball program has been hit hard this season, and it was evident Tuesday night as they were swept by the L’Anse Purple Hornets. L’Anse won by scores of 22-12, 25-20 and 25-22.

The Jets just aren’t what they used to be, said coach Rachel Torp.

“We’ve lost seven girls, and four of them were seniors,” she said. “We are trying to work around that and trying to make everything work. We are adjusting to new players as I’m having to bring up players from JV who have not played at this level.”

As if that wasn’t enough, the Jets have been off for two weeks after the Western U.P. Health Department closed area schools because of the rise in COVID-19 cases in Houghton County.

On the other hand, the Purple Hornets haven’t missed a practice since they are in Baraga County.

“That is no excuse by any means,” said Torp. “It just adds to the strangeness of this season.”

L’Anse started off the first set strong. Natalie Swanson knocked down an ace for point number two and the Purple Hornets moved out to an 8-2 pace. They kept a steady six-point lead.

A slam by the Jeffers’ Makenna Harris could have fueled the fire for a Jets run but it was quickly doused with a service error. That was the story of the night for the Jets. They made a great play only to offset it shortly after.

L’Anse head coach Chad Rice said he was quite pleased with his squad’s play.

“This was probably the best we have played as a team,” Rice said. “I liked the movement of the ball around the court. The girls were trying to place the ball better than just swinging for the fences.”

The second set looked a lot like the first. The Purple Hornets came out strong and kept the Jets jumping. The Jets had a little more bounce in the steps as they came within four of the Purple Hornets at 16-20 and 18-22. Within that, there was a Jets run of three — the best one for them on the night.

“We were just not being aggressive enough. We weren’t talking,” Torp said. “They beat us at the net just about every time.”

The Jets must have heeded their coaches call to aggression as the third set was much better. In fact, they take the lead for the first time on the night at 6-5 and 7-6. Jeffers then stayed in there with ties at 10, 13 and 22 before falling to the service of Purple Hornet’s Maija Rice who put the third set and the match away at 25-22.

“L’Anse is a great team,” Torp said. “Their middles are able to set things up and put the ball wherever they wanted. Despite the loss, I am glad we are jut able to play. It means a lot especially for our seniors.”

With the win, the Purple Hornets moved to 7-3 and the Jets fell to 3-4.

Jeffers — 12 20 22

L’Anse — 25 25 25

Calumet sweeps Negaunee

NEGAUNEE — Calumet swept Negaunee on Tuesday as Copper Country schools returned to action after a two-week hiatus because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Helen Beiring led the Copper Kings with 14 kills and four blocks. Elli Djerf had 14 kills, 15 digs and two aces. Marybeth Halonen had seven kills and three aces. Cami Johnson had 24 digs, Emily Peterson had 22 assists.

Calumet JV and freshmen teams also won.

The Copper Kings host Westwood on Thursday.


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