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Volleyball: Calumet beats Negaunee in regional semis

Calumet’s Helen Beiring (16) celebrates a point scored against Negaunee with Elli Djerf (13) and Ila Goulette (15) during a Division 3 regional semifinal on Wednesday at Westwood High School in Ishpeming, Mich. (Photo courtesy Daryl T. Jarvinen)

ISHPEMING — It’s not easy to put together an undefeated volleyball season. It takes talent, communication and maybe a little bit of luck as well.

Calumet just needed the first two to keep its winning streak going Tuesday as the Copper Kings swept Negaunee in the MHSAA Division 3 regional semifinals at Westwood High School. Scores were 25-18, 25-14 and 25-17.

With the win, Calumet faces Charlevoix tonight in Manistique for the regional championship and a berth in next week’s state quarterfinals.

“I thought our blockers did a really good job at the net,” Calumet head coach Kate Bonacorsi said. “Our right side was coming over to help out in the middle and I thought they got a lot of touches, even balls that they didn’t necessarily get a block kill. And I think that helped our defense look a lot better.

“Offensively, we ran a lot of different attacks in all our positions and I thought the girls did a good job of making good decisions of what to set when.”

Helen Beiring and Elli Djerf each had 11 kills to lead Calumet offensively, while Kristi Keranen and Mallie Anderson combined for 31 assists. Keranen also had four aces and Beiring 13 digs.

Negaunee kept pace with Calumet for much of the match, but eventually, the Copper Kings started to pull away in each set.

“I think Calumet just kept giving strong, consistent offense,” Miners head coach Sarah MacDonald said. “They play such a solid game all the way around. They kept pushing and kept attacking and we fumbled on defense a little bit. But I’m really proud of my girls’ effort. They gave it all they had for sure.”

Natalie Bell was the Miners’ offensive star with seven kills, while Larissa Anderson had nine assists and two aces. Bell also had four blocks, while three Negaunee players had four digs apiece.

The first set was the tightest of the three as the teams traded points for most of it. Calumet built an 18-11 lead, but Negaunee wouldn’t go away as it stayed within striking distance. However, after a Beiring kill, the Copper Kings held a 23-16 advantage and finished with a seven-point win on a kill from Marybeth Halonen.

Calumet opened the second set with four straight points, but the Miners rallied and pulled within one at 6-5 on an ace from Anderson. Negaunee stayed within five points of the Copper Kings until Calumet got four straight to go up 20-11. The Copper Kings later went on a 5-0 run to take the set, winning it on an ace by Keranen.

In need of a win to stay alive, the Miners did everything they could. Negaunee held a 5-4 lead and rallied to tie the third set at 9-9. However, Calumet later went up 16-10 and even though Negaunee bounced back to cut its deficit to four thanks to kills from Bell and Mara Sorensen, the Copper Kings wouldn’t be denied. Calumet quickly built its lead up to eight at 21-13.

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