POSEN-Another year and another Presque Isle Championship for the Onaway volleyball team.
Despite an early challenge, the Cardinals earned their third straight Presque Isle title on Wednesday in Posen, defeating the host Vikings and Rogers City.
Onaway defeated Rogers City 25-20, 25-21 and 15-13 and then beat the Vikings 25-14, 25-8 and 15-8.
News Photo by James Andersen
Onaway’s Lexi Szymoniak (10) hits a ball over the net while Posen’s Korynn Hincka attempts to block it during a volleyball match in Posen on Wednesday.
Rogers City defeated Posen 25-19, 25-10 and 15-13.
Since the inception of the tournament, Onaway has won the title every year but one and faced another tough test from the Hurons, who lost 2-1 in the finals last season.
'We knew it was going to be a couple of good matches tonight and we got pressed. Rogers City's got a really tall front row, taller than us, so overall I thought we rose to the challenge tonight," Onaway coach Steve Watson said.
Mariah Ehrke led Onaway with 21 kills and 25 digs and Devin Bristley had 14 kills, four aces and 21 digs.
Onaway got out to a 4-0 start in its first set with the Hurons and looked to be ready to roll, but Rogers City had other plans. The Hurons answered back with the next three points and set off a tight contest that saw a late four-point run by Onaway tilt the set in their favor.
The hotly contest between the two ranked teams-Onaway is No. 3 in Class D, Rogers City is No. 7-served as a good preview for district play next week when both teams could meet again in the district finals.
"I expected that (the fast start). If you're going to see the best of somebody, you've got to anticipate them coming out like that," Watson said of Rogers City. "If you're lucky enough to win that first one, sometimes a team will maybe lose some steam, but we don't try to play that way. They're the seventh-ranked team for a reason."
The second set was another back-and-forth affair, but Onaway eventually won with a late stretch that included a kill and an ace from Bristley and a kill from Fullerton. After Rogers City cut the lead to three, 24-21, Ehrke finished the set with a kill.
Onaway came out on the winning end in the third set as well, rallying from an 11-8 deficit to close the match on a 6-2 run.
"That was a great match. I'm very happy with how the girls played. There was lots of energy," Rogers City coach Jackie Quaine said. "But serves hurt us and you can't do that against a team like that."
Taylor Ehrke added four kills, two aces, 49 assists and 14 digs for Onaway; Fullerton had nine kills, two aces and 10 digs; Lexi Szymoniak had six kills and seven digs and Ashley LaLonde had four aces and 14 digs.
Onaway didn't run into too much trouble against Posen (12-7, 7-3 North Star) as the Cardinals' offense was simply overwhelming at times, though the Vikings' defense played well.
"They were underneath a lot of attacks. I'm happy with the way we played defense," Posen coach Michelle Mulka said. "It definitely gives us a little bit of an advantage to see how they play and playing two ranked teams really helps the girls prepare."
Korynn Hincka had six kills and five blocks for the Vikings. Monica Bartz had two blocks, three kills and seven digs. Amy Buczkowski had two aces and 10 digs, Ashley Meyers chipped in with two aces and nine digs and Kayla Lenard had nine digs.
Jena Tulgestke led Rogers City with 13 kills and four blocks. Alexa Quaine had 11 kills and 18 digs; Megan Quaine had 36 digs; Courtney Streich had 11 kills and two blocks and Cassie Brege had 42 assists.
Rogers City is 32-8-1 on the season and hosts the North Star League tournament on Saturday starting at 11 a.m.
James Andersen can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5694. Follow James on Twitter @ja_alpenanews.