Calumet Copper Kings complete undefeated regular season

The Copper Kings’ Jackie Kiilunen attempts to put a block on the Bulldogs’ (5) Maylie Kilpela during a match Tuesday at the Hancock High School gym. (Eddie O’Neill/Daily Mining Gazette)

HANCOCK — Once again, the Calumet Copper Kings volleyball team did what they do best on the volleyball court, win sets. They defeated the Hancock Bulldogs in three straight sets with scores of 25-11, 25-9 and 25-17.

With the win the Copper Kings end a perfect conference regular season at 15-0. Their only losses came during tournament play. They ended the regular season at 25-6.

At the heart of the Calumet offense is senior and team captain Helen Beiring. She brings it strong to the net, and she did not disappoint on Tuesday night. She swung for 20 kills and had 11 digs. Teammate Allie Bjorn followed her 10.

“Helen had a great night as always,” said her coach, Kate Bonacorsi.

The Copper Kings led in all three sets. The first set was started with a run of five by Calumet’s Jackie Kiilunen and followed by a run of seven by Laina Kariniemi to make it a 13-5 lead for the visitors en route to the set win.

Kiilunen again set the tone in the second set with an opening run of eight.

Misplayed balls and errors from the service line plagued the Bulldogs. Errors are in essence free points and something no team can afford to give away to an opponent like the Copper Kings, who cruised to victory again in the second set.

The third set was Hancock’s best as the stayed two points behind the Copper Kings in the opening eight points. However, the Bulldogs couldn’t keep a service rally going and were one and done at the line.

A two-point deficit turned into a four-point one and an eventual loss for Hancock.

“The girls moved the ball well and executed our offense,” said Bonacorsi.

Not all was lost for the Bulldogs, however. It was the volleyball team’s Senior Night, and they were honored before the match by their coaches, parents and fans. Among those seniors playing their last games at their home gym were Ellie Heinonen, Kaisa Salani, Maylie Kilpela, Isabella Hebert and Cassie Peitila.

“They all have been leaders in their own ways and will be missed,” said Hancock coach Heather Haataja.

Up next

Tuesday’s matchup ended the regular season for both teams and next week begins district play. Both Hancock and Calumet compete in MHSAA Division 3 District 65. The tournament is being hosted by West Iron County High School all next week.

In the opening round, Hancock will face West Iron County on Monday, Oct. 31. On Wednesday, Nov. 2, Calumet will take on Westwood.


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