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Calumet sweeps IM, advances to MHSAA D3 regional finals

Iron Mountain's Bella Rosenthal, top right, hits the ball over the net as Calumet's Lizzie Torola, top left, defends during their MHSAA Division 3 regional volleyball match held at Westwood High School on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021. (Journal photo by Travis Nelson)

ISHPEMING — An impressive season for the Calumet volleyball team continued after the Copper Kings swept Iron Mountain in the MHSAA Division 3 regional semifinals at Westwood High School on Tuesday.

Calumet recorded a three-set win, 25-12, 25-14, 25-13. The Copper Kings have yet to drop a set in four matches during the tournament, and their offensive attack was particularly efficient against the Mountaineers.

That was despite IM also not dropping a set in two district tournament matches.

“Well, we have really smart attackers and our setter is doing a really nice job of running the offense and keeping it diversified in the attacks that they’re hitting,” Calumet coach Kate Bonacorsi said. “They have a great shot selection so they’re able to find the spots on the court and put the ball away.”

Calumet moves onto the regional finals at at 6 p.m. Thursday to face Elk Rapids at St. Ignace High School. Elk Rapids swept Charlevoix.

Calumet got 20 kills from Helen Beiring, who had an awesome match from the left side, according to Bonacorsi. Marybeth Halonen had 11 aces, five kills and three digs in an overall solid performance and Laina Kariniemi had every assist for Calumet with 31.

All around it was tough to stop for the Mountaineers.

“Calumet’s a strong team, as you can see from their serving,” Iron Mountain coach Jeanne Newberry said. “It’s not just their serving, they’ve got the height on the outside. When they put the ball down inside the 10-foot with force, my players don’t have a chance if we get our hands on the ball on the block. It’s through that, that Calumet had a big advantage on us tonight.”

For Iron Mountain, Leah Winch led the way in assists with seven and Emma Ellis had six. Ellison Powell and Annslee Runsat both had four kills, with Powell and Winch leading the team in digs with five and four respectively. Despite what the score may have shown, Newberry commended her team’s effort.

“They did not give up,” Newberry said. “Even though the score doesn’t say it, being down 10 points and battling, as a coach that’s all I can say is hard work.

“They’ve been like this all year as far as their effort coming in and playing. Not giving up on a ball, I mean they’re being beamed. I mean as a coach, I would not want to stand out there and receive that.

“So as I say to them, congratulations on their effort and their strength because they did battle tonight.”

Iron Mountain’s season comes to an end, but not without a district championship under their belts.

“Tonight, I would have to say, Calumet by far was the better team on the floor,” Newberry said. “But for Iron Mountain to make the Sweet 16, as I call it, is a congratulations to the seniors. Because we have a lot of seniors on the team that worked hard for this all year long.”

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