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Volleyball: Calumet sweeps Hancock in district semis

Hancock's Marina Kero (10) hits the ball as Calumet's Helen Beiring (16) tries to block during a Division 3 District 65 semifinal on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020, in Calumet, Mich. (Eddie O'Neill/The Daily Mining Gazette)

CALUMET — There is a clear reason why Calumet senior Elli Djerf was named this year’s West PAC volleyball player of the year for the second time in her high-school career.

She kills it at the net, aces it at the service line and digs it in the back court. All of those skills came alive last night as she and her fellow Copper Kings took care of the Hancock Bulldogs in MHSAA District 65 semifinal action. Calumet won with ease in three straight sets 25-10, 25-13 and 25-8.

Calumet hopes to keep their perfect record (16-0) untarnished as they host the the L’Anse Purple Hornets in the District 65 championship game at 7 p.m. today in Calumet.

Djerf single handily put 15 points on the scoreboard with her kills.

“She is incredible,” said Calumet head coach Kate Bonacorsi, head coach of the Calumet team and also West PAC Coach of the Year. “She is a complete player from anywhere on the court.”

This was the second time these two teams had met in as many weeks, and the difference was night and day. At Hancock a week ago, the Bulldogs played one of their best games of the year according to their head coach Heather L’Esperance. That night they were in the game battling a difficult opponent. Last night though was a different story.

“The girls weren’t in this one,” she said. “They were intimidated by them (Calumet).”

In the first set, the Copper Kings jumped out to a 7-5 lead which turned into a 14-5 lead thanks to Djerf’s varied serves. She had a bullet over the net one time and a softer touch the next. She was aided with big blocks by Lizzie Torola and Helen Beiring. Torola had 10 kills and Beiring had eight.

The match took on a “David verse Goliath” feel as the second set started. Calumet’s offensive arsenal was unstoppable, and their defense front was equally strong. Nothing could get by them. The back line was a wall led by Cami Johnson who posted an impressive 20 digs.

“We really limited our unforced errors, and the girls executed in every aspect,” said Bonacorsi. “They played very smart in how they ran the setting choices and the hitting choices. They hit their shots when they needed to, and they tipped when they needed.”

Marybeth Halonen opened the third set for Calumet with a run of nine from the service line. The Copper Kings continued to roll and limited the Bulldogs to just eight points to win the match.

While it was not the prettiest way to end the season for Hancock, not all was lost.

“It was a good year, and I saw a lot of improvement in them,” L’Esperance said.

After the game the Copper Kings, honored their five seniors: Djerf, Johnson, Kenli Anderson, Jenna Tarnowski and Kristi Keranen.

“It has been a stressful year,” Bonacorsi said. “Even with all the uncertainty these girls have been great. They’ve handled it well and are happy to be playing.”

ALSO: L’Anse beat Jeffers in five sets in the Division 3 District 65 semifinals on Thursday.

Lake Linden-Hubbell beat Dollar Bay-Tamarack City 3-1 in a Division 4 District 98 semifinal.

The Lakes won by scores of 11-25, 25-20, 25-16 and 25-10.

Lakes seniors Melissa Wagner and Abby Beaudoin had eight kills apiece. Wagner also had 17 digs and nine aces. Freshman Clara Colombe had seven aces.

Lake Linden-Hubbell hosts Chassell for the district title at 6 p.m. today.

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