Volleyball: Chassell sweeps LL-Hubbell for District 98 championship

The Chassell High School volleyball team poses with the Division 4 District 98 championship trophy on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Lake Linden, Mich. (David Archambeau/For the Gazette)

LAKE LINDEN — Few high school volleyball teams in the Upper Peninsula have been more affected by the COVID-19 situation than the Chassell Panthers and Lake Linden-Hubbell Lakes.

The two teams met up in the Division 4 District 98 championship game Thursday night, with the Panthers emerging with a 3-0 (25-10, 25-18, 25-13) win.

The two teams have had their health troubles this fall.

Chassell coach Karli McMullen said the pandemic cost her charges a three-week stoppage because of quarantine.

“That was tough on the girls not practicing all that time,” McMullen said. “But they hung in there all season.”

Thursday’s victory was Chassell’s 14th in 15 tries this season, and put them into the regional finals next week in Carney (the Bessmer district was canceled because of COVID) this week.

The Lakes, who struggled all year in going 2-12, lost several players during the season. Indeed, they only had seven players in uniform last night.

Lakes coach Ellen Jarvis said it’s been a tough campaign.

“We lost players (to COVID) and also had three freshmen go out with injuries,” Jarvis said.

As for the match, Chassell took control right off the bat as all-conference players Maelene Warren and Madisyn Holombo stood out.

“I thought Maelene and Maddie played their usual good games,” McMullen said. “But we had fine performances from several girls.”

The always active Warren finished off the first set with good work at the service line. She had a team-best eight aces.

The scrappy Lakes put up a good battle in the second set, drawing to within 16-15 at one point after a nice kill by senior Kaci Destrampe.

Good play at the net by Holombo and Hailey McClure enabled CHS to close fast.

The third set was dominated by the Panthers, whose only loss was to league champion Wakefield.

McMullen said the district title was the first “in several years for us.”

“I’m especially happy for the seniors, who have never won a district,” McMullen said.

Holombo contributed a team-leading nine digs, while Ali Palosaari had six assists.

Destrampe was the top player for the Lakes with a half-dozen kills. Melissa Wagner was steady with three digs and five assists.

“I thought the kids played hard, even though they knew it would be a tough task against a tall Chassell team,” Jarvis said.

McMullen expects to find a tough Carney-Nadeau team in the next round.

“We’re going down there with the idea of winning,” she said. “It won’t be easy but we’re still playing.”


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