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Onaway spikes away Central Lake in three

News Photo by Ben Murphy Onaway’s Sydney Peel makes a play at the net during Tuesday’s home sweep over Central Lake.

ONAWAY — Onaway had a pretty simple strategy heading into Tuesday’s home Ski Valley Conference volleyball match with Central Lake.

“Our goal was to put the ball in play, make them play defense, and do it again, do it again, and do it again,” Onaway coach Steve Watson said.

The Cardinals did that to near perfection as they made minimal attack errors on offense and chased down just about every ball the Lady Trojans sent their way, all leading to a convincing win in straight sets, 25-7, 25-14, and 25-9.

“It went pretty well,” Watson said. “There was a couple communication points, one in particular that I wasn’t happy with where they turned their back on the play and it came over and they paid a heavy price. My message to them in the timeout was that they didn’t have a short-term memory, they let that play seep into the next two plays. We got away with it tonight, but we won’t if it is close against a team that is pushing us hard. We’ve had those moments all season, so it is nothing new, but, apart from that, I thought the girls came out and played steady, played solid.”

After breezing through the first set, the second was somewhat closer. The Cards did still lead 16-11, though, and a spike by Jayma Domke helped spark an 8-3 run to close out that frame.

In the third set, an ace by Sadie Decker and quick swat back on an incoming freeball by Sydney Peel — who finished with 10 kills on the night — made it a quick 4-0. A pair of kills by Peggy Artrip and an ace by Peel pushed the gap to 12-2.

Domke had an ace and a spike from Decker hit the court to make it a commanding 17-3 advantage.

The Trojans did pull within 18-8, but a pair of kills by Peel helped extend that gap to 23-9, and an ace by Decker made it 24-9, with the match ending with the next point on a Central Lake passing error.

While the Cardinals were expected by most to win the match, Watson appreciated that his team managed to take care of business in three sets.

“When you have a set like that, especially in the first set, that doesn’t mean the second set is going to go that way,” he said. “So you always have to be on guard, and that is what I was telling them after the first set: Don’t let your guard down. Don’t go on cruise mode. You have work to do. That should be your mindset all the time when you walk on the floor. That was good. They did a pretty good job of that.”

To go along with her 10 kills, Peel also had two aces and four digs. Ema DeMaestri was able to get five kills and two digs and Grace Watson had 18 assists, four kills, three aces, and three digs. Artrip had three kills and one block. Domke added two kills, two aces, and three digs. Decker finished with two kills, four aces, and two digs. And Ella Lintz added two assists and four digs.

Onaway is now 14-9-3 overall and 4-1 in the Ski Valley. The Cardinals host league foe Johannesburg-Lewiston today, hosts its own tournament on Saturday, and dips back into Ski Valley Conference play on Tuesday at Inland Lakes.

They wrap up league play at Gaylord St. Mary on Oct. 10.

While a loss to Mancelona earlier in the season means the Cardinals do not control their own fate in the league title chase, Watson hopes his team wins out and gets a little help from other teams.

“I think the league is wide open,” Watson said. “I don’t think there is a dominant team amongst us. I wish it was us. I wish we had been undefeated at this point, but all you can do is set yourself up for the net match. Right now, we have Joburg Thursday and Inland Lakes on Tuesday and our biggest focus is on those two conference matches, and we will try to be competitive and get wins out of them if we can.”

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