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Onward Onaway

Cardinals advance to district volleyball final after sweep

October 31, 2012
BY ERIC BENAC - News Sports Writer ( , The Alpena News

POSEN-A class D volleyball district continued on Wednesday in Posen with two of the area's stronger volleyball teams meeting up again to move on to the next round: Rogers City and Onaway.

Both teams fought hard, but Onaway came out on top with a three game sweep of the Hurons 25-18, 25-17 and 25-18.

Rogers City head coach Jackie Quaine was proud of her girls in spite of their loss.

Article Photos

News Photo by Eric Benac
Onaway’s Kallie Shimel (4) hits it over the net as Rogers City’s Alexa Quaine (9) and Sarah Meredith (15) stretch to block during a Class D district volleyball match on Wednesday at Posen High School.

"This is the hardest they've played all year. They came out attacking against Onaway and I couldn't be any prouder of them," she said.

The first game promised exciting volleyball action immediately as Rogers City took an early 5-3 lead against Onaway, which included an excellent ace by the serving Rebecca Meredith.

The teams played excellent, highly defensive volleyball and consistently shut down each other's heavy hitting front row attackers, a fact that wasn't lost on Onaway head coach Steve Watson.

"I was really pleased with the front row defenders tonight. It's an area we've had some issues with and going up against Rogers City is tough because they have such tall, heavy hitting girls," Watson said. "But we shut down a lot of their attacks throughout the night which was a big help."

The game stayed neck-and-neck until the 26th point when Onaway scored to close Rogers City's lead to 14-12. This streak included excellent serving and defensive play from Onaway's Mariah Ehrke and Kallie Shimel as well as several kills from Rogers City's Sarah Meredith.

Ehrke had 14 kills, two aces and seven digs on the night while Meredith had seven kills.

Onaway then got big serves from Lexi Szymoniak and Devin Bristley that left the Rogers City girls struggling to answer the Cardinals' attacks. These two served for eleven points to one against Rogers City, pulling ahead 23-15.

Szymoniak had 10 kills, five digs and two blocks while Bristley had five kills, five aces and 12 digs.

However, Rogers City fought back with typically excellent focus and verve, including attention-grabbing digs from Brooklyn Idalski and Courtney Streich that kept the Hurons in the game and helped them get some more points to close the lead to 24-18, before Onaway scored the next point to win the game, 25-18.

Idalski 14 digs on the night while Streich had seven.

Momentum belonged to Onaway by the beginning of the second game as it took a quick 7-2 lead. Megan Estep made life difficult for Rogers City with her strong offensive and defensive play. She had five kills, three aces, 28 assists and 12 digs for the night.

Rogers City wasn't ready to go down without a fight. The Hurons fought back hard against Onaway, extending volleys with excellent digs and aggressive tips and over the net setting.

Lindsey Claus and Jena Tulgetske were especially strong on the night as they had six kills and seven kills respectively.

Onaway's lead proved too much to overcome and even though Rogers City closed the gap to three points at 15-12, a serving streak by Sara Fullerton quickly put the game out of reach.

The third game saw a return to more aggressive Rogers City play. It took a quick 3-2 lead but Fullerton began another serving streak after earning the serve to to earn her team three more points to lead 6-3. Rogers City never regained the lead but knocked on Onaway's door several times.

Rogers City struggled to get a good serving stream going throughout the night. Onaway was good at hitting back serves and stopping drives.

Rogers City was also defensively strong with Cassie Brege contributing an impressive six digs and 23 assists.

After Rogers City closed the score to 14-12, Onaway went on a five-point scoring streak led by Megan Estep that pulled the Cardinals ahead 19-14. Idalski then served for three straight points to close the gap back to 19-16. Onaway pulled ahead quickly and ended the game and the match with a score of 25-18.

Megan Self did her part to help give Onaway the win by contributing two kills, two assists, one dig and two blocks.

Quaine pointed out some defensive issues that haunted her team's performance.

"We really practiced hard to cover the center and they did that really well but they tended to leave the corners exposed and Onaway exploited that. I give them all the credit in the world as they played well and deserved to win," she said.

Watson had positive words to say about Rogers City as well as his own team.

"Rogers City is a good team. They hit hard and played really well defensively. We gave them too many points in the first game but we shut them down enough times and played like a well oiled machine to come out on top. You're going to lose points here and there and you just can't get a complete shut out. The most important thing is being on top at the end," he said.

Onaway plays Posen tonight in Posen to decide the district championship.



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