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Volleyball: Calumet sweeps Charlevoix for 1st regional title since 2017

MANISTIQUE — The Calumet Copper Kings passed a major test here Thursday night, earning a 3-0 (25-15, 25-23, 25-23) volleyball victory over the Charlevoix Rayders for their first Division 3 regional title since 2017.

Calumet plays Beaverton in the state quarterfinals at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Houghton Lake. Beaverton swept McBain for its regional title.

“It was a very exciting match, maybe a little too exciting,” said Calumet coach Kate Bonacorsi. “This was a good test for our girls. We hadn’t been tested that late into a set very many times before this.”

Calumet was trailing 23-17 in the third set before getting a sideout on a kill by Marybeth Halonen.

Senior Cami Johnson then stepped up to the service line and hit seven straight points, helping the Copper Kings secure the decision.

“I just went out and served like we were at practice,” she said. “I just tried to get good serves and let them make the errors. We kept trying to set up Helen (Beiring) because she had been doing really good for us, and our outside hitters did a great job being consistent.”

Senior Elli Djerf got a kill to trim Calumet’s deficit to 23-19. Beiring then added back-to-back kills to bring the Copper Kings within two points and force the Rayders to use a time-out.

A hitting error by Charlevoix tied the score. Jenna Tarnowski’s block on sophomore Anna Haf gave the Copper Kings a 24-23 lead, and a block by Beiring ended the match.

“We had to stay positive, find holes in their defense and take advantage of that,” Beiring said. “We also had to serve tough, and Cami changed up her serve and went deep. I think the momentum shifted when it got to 23-21. It has always been a dream to go downstate, and we’re going to try to go all the way down.”

The Copper Kings appeared to be cruising in the second set when Halonen provided them with a 17-7 advantage on a block on sophomore Claire Scholten.

Charlevoix scored the next five points, trimming its deficit to 17-12 on back-to-back aces by Zipp.

Calumet got a sideout for an 18-12 lead when Beiring tipped the ball over the net for a kill, but a hitting error enabled the Rayders to regain their serve.

Scholten then served for six points as the Rayders pulled ahead 19-18.

“I think it was mostly a lack of discipline on our side,” Johnson said. “We knew they were good servers. We should have been more focused.”

A kill by Djerf tied the score at 19. The Copper Kings regained the lead on a service error and went up 21-19 on a tip kill by Tarnowski.

Calumet was trailing 23-22 following a service error.

A kill by Halonen pulled the Copper Kings even at 23 before they cashed in on a pair of Rayders’ miscues to secure that set.

“The girls really worked hard,” said Charlevoix coach Audra Randall. “We knew Calumet usually comes out hard and fast in the first set. We got ahead in the second set. We just couldn’t hold on to the lead. They’re a tough team. They closed the holes on us or at least dug the ball up. We knew they were going to try to block Grace and told her to just settle down. Avery came out serving tough. With her on the serving line, we scored a lot of points this season.”

Charlevoix was within 14-11 following a kill by Lentz in the opener. The Rayders then committed a hitting error, enabling Calumet to go up by four.

Calumet extended its lead to 19-12 on Torola’s block on junior Camryn Turkelson.

The Rayders came within 19-14 on a Copper Kings’ hitting miscue. Calumet, however, didn’t allow the Rayders to get any closer.

Djerf finished with 11 kills and 14 digs. Beiring added nine kills and six blocks. Halonen and Torola recorded six kills apiece. Johnson collected 28 digs, and Ila Goulette had three block assists.

“They had the momentum most of the third set,” Bonacorsi said. “It would have been tough to get that back had there been a fourth set. When you get this far, your opponent is going to be tough. They had some tough servers. (Zipp) made it tough on us. They were serving tough in the middle of the second set, and we weren’t scoring enough to offset that. We were back on our heels. Cami’s service run at the end of the match was huge.”

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