Hurons capture third consecutive P.I. championship

News Photo by Jonny Zawacki Rogers City’s Kayla Rabeau (14) spikes a ball past Onaway defender Kayanna Dean (10) during the first set of a Presque Isle championship match on Wednesday at Posen High School. The Hurons went undefeated to capture a third consecutive Presque Isle championship.

POSEN — It was a perfect day for the Rogers City volleyball team as the Hurons are beginning to heat up right before postseason play begins.

Rogers City swept Posen and Onaway on its way to capturing a third straight Presque Isle Championship on Wednesday at Posen High School.

“Tonight our girls were on. We played really smart ball, starting with the serving and we got it going early and kept it going all night,” Rogers City coach Jackie Quaine said. “I credit the girls for playing smart and stepping up tonight. We always shoot for the end of the season when we’re practicing and we’ve kept pushing and pushing. We had some problems early on in the season, but the pieces are starting to come together at the end of the of the season and that’s exactly what I was hoping for.”

The Hurons defeated Posen by scores of 25-15 and 25-9 in their first match of the night after Onaway got the tournament started with a sweep of the host Vikings by scores of 25-21 and 25-22.

This once again set up a winner take all match for the championship between the Hurons and Cardinals in what has become an intense rivalry between two top programs.

Rogers City got out to an early lead as the Hurons served well all night and Onaway was a little sluggish out of the gates and fell behind 6-1 before head coach Steve Watson called a timeout.

“We just didn’t play good enough. Rogers City came to to play and we’ve been talking about this the last few weeks and we just haven’t been able to step on the court and execute like we should,” Watson said. “The way the first set against Rogers City set the tone because you can’t start off allowing three straight aces and expect to do well. Bottom line is that we have to do a better job.”

The timeout did little to slow the Hurons down as they were in complete control during a pivotal first set and went on a run to open up a commanding 16-5 lead before scoring seven of the last nine points to take the lead in the match.

“We needed to move our feet better and we just weren’t prepared at times. They played better tonight and they are a good team. I thought they played really well tonight,” Watson said. “We got them once and they got us once and it’s a combination of both teams playing at their peaks at different times. Rogers City came to play tonight and they handed it to us.”

After a lopsided defeat in the first set, Onaway was determined to come out and play better and at times did, making the second set much more challenging for the Hurons as it was anyone’s game game midway through with the score deadlocked at 17.

The Cardinals committed a few too many mistakes late in the contest which proved costly as the Hurons capitalized scoring eight of the last nine points to close out the match and take home another Presque Isle championship.

“This win tonight really sets the tone for next week. Hopefully this will give us a mental edge, but we have to remember every day is a new day so we just need to come out and play our game,” Quaine said. “We just have to want it and I feel that was one of the spots we were weak in because not everyone was at the same level, but now all of the sudden it’s like we know we’re into that second season now and it’s do or die. We need to continue leaving it all on the court and leave no regrets.”

The Hurons were led by Kayla Rabeau who had 24 kills, 15 digs and seven aces. Taylor Fleming added 19 kills, 18 digs and six aces. Catheryn Hart finished with 14 kills and three blocks. Kyrsten Altman had six kills and six digs. Jayna Hance had 17 digs. Hannah Fleming chipped in with eight digs and three aces. Kristin Brege dished out out 44 assists on the night and had seven digs and two aces.

Onaway was led by Madison McLean had 21 kills and eight digs. Jaclyn Nash dished out 39 assists and had 23 digs, five aces and three kills. Calley Selke added 22 digs, 11 kills and six aces. Kennedy Crawford finished with 15 digs, eight kills and six aces. Jordan Larson chipped in with six digs, Kaitlyn Boettger had seven digs and Malaurie McLean ended the night with six digs.

The trio of teams will all be back in action on Tuesday when they travel to Rogers City for the first round of district play.

The Hurons will play Hillman while Onaway and Posen square off again.

Jonny Zawacki can be reached via email at jzawacki@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5690.