Rogers City should hold heads high
Just two days after having its season come to a unfortunate end, the sour taste may still be in the Hurons mouth after falling for the second consecutive year in four sets, in the state semifinals.
The good news is, that sour taste should be quickly washed away once Rogers City takes the time to sit back and realize what they were able to accomplish this season.
After losing a handful of seniors from the 2016 state semfinal team, Rogers City came into the year knowing they had spots to fill, adjustments to make and players to step up into bigger roles. It took a bit for the Hurons to figure things out as they didn’t start the year off all that well, but as head coach Jackie Quaine preached to her team all year, it’s how the Hurons played come tournament time that would make all the difference.
Despite a slow start to the season, Quaine and the Hurons began to put the team puzzle together, piece by piece. Seniors Kayla Rabeau and Hannah Fleming stepped up and were leaders all season. The talented junior class of Taylor Fleming, Jayna Hance, Shawna McDonald, Catheryn Hart, Amanda Wirgau, Sarah Brege, Maddy Hincka, Alissa Bowden and Christina Andrzjewski provided the team with a spark whether they were in the starting lineup or coming in fresh off the bench. Two underclassmen played key roles as Kyrsten Altman gave Rogers City options with her ability to play anywhere on the court. The final and most important piece of the puzzle was put together midway through the year when freshman Kristin Brege was called up from the JV team and made an immediate impact as the teams setter.
After the pieces were together, the Hurons began to show just how special the team was as they got red hot down the stretch and did exactly what Quaine had hoped and that was begin playing their best late in the season.
Rogers City caught fire by capturing a third consecutive North Star League Big Dipper division title and claim a third straight Presque Isle championship by sweeping both tournaments.
The Hurons were playing their best at the right time and were determined to make another run as this time they had experience from their run a season ago.
Rabeau and Fleming were dominant attacking the net. Hance put her body on the line to dig up would-be kills from the opposition. Kristin Brege set up Rogers City’s two big hitters along with Hart and McDonald. The rest of the Hurons provided the depth needed for a good team to make some serious noise in the postseason and again, that’s what the Hurons did.
Rogers City began it’s impressive run with a district semifinal win over a talented Hillman team who was winners of the NSL Little Dipper division. The Hurons then went on to knock off the No. 5 ranked Onaway Cardinals to win a third straight district championship.
Due to a change in the playoff bracket this season, Rogers City was ready to face easily its biggest test of the year when they clashed with volleyball power and No. 2 ranked Leland in a regional semifinal showdown.
The match lived up to the hype and the Hurons passed the test, defeating the Comets in five thrilling sets to advance to its third regional championship.
The momentum Rogers City built against Leland, followed them back to Bellaire where they beat the host Eagles on their home floor to win a third straight regional title.
The Hurons advanced a quarterfinal matchup against No. 10 ranked Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart Academy. After taking the first two sets, Rogers City allowed the Irish to battle their way back and force the Hurons to play another fifth set in the postseason. Rogers City was able to regroup and finish off Sacred Heart to get another opportunity to play at Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek.
Despite falling to No. 1 ranked Plymouth Christian, the Hurons should hold their heads high after another magical season in one of the most difficult postseason roads imaginable. Rogers City knocked off the second, fifth and tenth ranked teams before eventually falling to number one, all while being ranked eighth in Class D.
The pain will likely be temporary as Rogers City says goodbye to its two seniors, but don’t be surprised if Quaine and the Hurons put together another puzzle in 2018 that results in another magical postseason run with all of the talent and experience the team will return next Fall.