A fight to the finish

Onaway tops Rogers City to win Presque Isle Championships

News Photo by James Andersen Rogers City's Catheryn Hart, right, hits a ball past Onaway defenders Mattey Horner (7) and Malaurie McLean during a volleyball match on Wednesday at Rogers City High School. Onaway defeated Rogers City in three sets to win the 2018 Presque Isle Championships.

ROGERS CITY–For the first time in four years, the Onaway volleyball team staked its claim as the best in Presque Isle County.

The Cardinals outlasted Rogers City in a back-and-forth three set battle to win the 2018 Presque Isle Championships on Wednesday at Rogers City High School.

Onaway won 25-17 in the first set, dropped the second set 18-25 and pulled out the third set 15-13.

The win ended a three year run of Presque Isle Championship titles for the Hurons.

Onaway took control of the deciding set early, charging out to a 6-1 lead after some timely blocks from Malaurie McLean. The Cardinals eventually pushed their lead to 8-2 before the Hurons started to find a rhythm.

Kills from Maddy Hincka and Taylor Fleming helped make it 8-5 before Onaway pushed its lead to 11-5, taking advantage of a block that sailed out of bounds and an attack that went out of bounds. Onaway later went up 12-7 before the Hurons reeled off three points to make it 12-10.

The Cardinals never lost the lead after breaking an early 1-1 tie, but both teams fought for every point. Several rallies down the stretch went back-and-forth several times before one team scored. In many cases, scoring came down to which team blinked first.

“It was just nice to see the long rallies going back and forth too and knowing that you’re not going to panic because you can’t find a place to put it down,” Rogers City coach Jackie Quaine said. “Sometimes you have to wait for them to make a mistake.”

A block from McLean made it 13-10 in Onaway’s favor and the Hurons made it 13-11 on an attacking error. Onaway scored again on an attacking error and the Hurons scored twice to make it 14-13; one point came on a tip and the other on a kill from Fleming.

Rogers City’s hopes for a comeback ended when Calley Selke recorded a kill to give Onaway the match.

“It was a tight match. You saw those last couple points (had) a lot of great plays. Every time you see one of your kids made a great dig or one of their kids make a great dig, you hope you can demoralize the other team by winning that point,” Onaway coach Steve Watson said. “A lot of great hustle plays…yes it feels pretty good to win a close match.”

Selke led Onaway with 15 kills, three aces and 14 digs. Breya Domke had 11 kills and 10 digs. Mallorie Neelis had three kills, 36 assists, four aces and 15 digs. Kennedy Crawford had 10 kills, three aces and 15 digs. Jordan Larson had 12 digs, McLean had four kills and six digs and Jackie Sellke had three aces, three digs, two assists and a kill.

Both sides flexed their muscles in each of the first two sets as Onaway used an early lead to win the first set and the Hurons returned the favor in the second set.

In the first set, Onaway took advantage of Rogers City’s struggles with serve receive to get out to an 8-1 lead. The Hurons recovered, but Onaway’s strong play at the net helped tip the scales in its favor.

With Rogers City turning the ball over on attacking errors and strong blocking at the net as well as the play of Selke, Onaway pulled away again midway through the first set after the Hurons battled back to make it 12-9. Onaway eventually pulled away to take a 19-11 lead and finished off the first set by scoring the final four points of the set.

Rogers City turned the tables on the Cardinals in the second set, scoring the first thee points and zapping Onaway of its momentum. Before Onaway could recover, Rogers City led 8-2.

“We need a little more control out there, but otherwise, I’ll tell you what I’m happy with our play,” Quaine said. “It was just two good teams going at it and a good match to get us both ready for districts.”

Onaway battled back to tie the set three times as the second set continued and a late attacking error allowed the Cardinals to tie it 17-17. From there the set belonged to Rogers City as the Hurons went on a 8-1 run to close things out.

Fleming had 27 kills, three blocks, four aces and 17 digs for the Hurons; Catheryn Hart had six kills, four aces, 12 digs and Hincka had five kills; Shawna McDonald had three kills, Kyrsten Altman had three kills and Christina Andrzejewski had four aces; Kristin Brege had 45 assists and 11 digs and Amanda Wirgau had 21 digs.

The Hurons began the night with a three-set win over Posen: 25-17, 25-11 and 15-12. Posen used a pair of blocks from Maddie Menzel and several Rogers City attacking errors to take a 7-0 lead in the third set that eventually grew to 10-2.

The lead didn’t last however as Rogers City rallied from a 12-6 hole to end the match on a 9-0 run.

Onaway also defeated Posen in three sets. Onaway won the first two 25-15 and 25-12 and took the third by forfeit.