Cheboygan shakes slow start, eliminates Eskymos

Prep volleyball

Mike Mattson | Daily Press Escanaba’s Paige Wendt spikes the ball as Cheboygan’s Brenna Hart (12) goes for the block in Monday’s district match at Escanaba High School.

ESCANABA — Everything looked promising for the Escanaba Eskymos in the first set of a Class B district volleyball opener Monday night.

Things began to change in the second set, however, as the Cheboygan Chiefs ralled for a 3-1 (14-25, 25-20, 25-14, 25-15) victory.

The victory enables the Chiefs (23-19-6) to host Boyne City in a district semifinal Wednesday.

“I thought the girls were very scrappy,” said Esky coach Adam Lambert. “They were ready to go. The fans and girls were into it. In the first set, it seemed like anywhere we wanted to hit, we could hit. Then, they covered the floor well in the second set and we had slow starts in the remaining sets, which hurt us. They had very good, strategic time-outs. They’re a very well coached team.”

Esky was clinging to a 14-12 lead following a passing error in the opener before it finished that set with an 11-2 run.

Mike Mattson | Daily Press Escanaba’s Haillie McDonough goes up for a spike as Cheboygan’s Taryn Jewell (5) attempts the block in Monday’s district match at Escanaba High School.

“We did the same thing when we came up here for their tournament (Escanaba Elks Invitational),” said Cheboygan coach Kris Jewell. “We didn’t play well in our first match, then we came back to win it. Tonight, after the first set we had a pep talk with the seniors. I told then ‘this is it. If we want to continue playing after tonight, we have to pick it up. Show me what you can do.’ We’ve been up and down a little mentally. We sometimes have to call time-outs to settle the girls down.”

The Chiefs, who won the Oct. 7 tourney at Esky, did just that Monday by grabbing a 9-2 lead in the second set, scoring the first six points in the third and starting the fourth with a 4-0 run.”

“Getting a jump in those sets was huge,” she added. “The girls tend to get quiet when they’re trailing and our communication starts to break down. That’s what happened to us in the first set tonight.”

The Eskymos rallied to tie the second set at 10. Following a sideout, the Chiefs started an 12-4 run for a 22-14 cushion.

A kill by junior Haillie McDonough then gave Esky a sideout. The Eskymos eventually trimmed their deficit to 24-20 on a net violation by the Chiefs, but were unable to finish them off.

Cheboygan led by as much as 19-4 in the third and 19-8 in the finale after a kill by sophomore Angie Swiderek.

“Angie was a setter most of the year, but she hurt her hand a week ago and could no longer set,” said coach Jewell. “We moved her to outside hitter where she has done a nice job.”

The Eskymos made one more push, scoring the next four points before little bit of miscommunication, a hitting error and a defensive miscue foiled their comeback attempt.

Coach Lambert was pleased with the team’s effort this season despite Monday’s outcome.

“I thought we had a phenomenal year,” he said. “We had a great group of girls and I had great help from our assistant coaches. We won the Great Northern Conference tournament. I’ll take that anytime. We had a young team. We’re losing four seniors, but I think we’ll do better next year.”

Junior Lexi Challlier led the Eskymos at the net with 13 kills. Classmate Kaliea Lawrence added four kills, 17 assists and 11 digs. Kaitlyn Lord finished with nine assists and Kathryn Wilson had eight digs.

“I thought Lexi had a great night at the net,” said coach Lambert.

Swiderek collected 13 kills and 18 digs. Taryn Jewell added 11 digs and Holmes finished with six kills, three blocks and 29 digs.

The summary:

Escanaba — Barron (three aces, three kills, two blocks); Lambert (one ace, three kills); Johnson (one ace, one assist); Chaillier (13 kills, six digs); K. Lawrence (four kills, 17 assists, 11 digs); T. Lawrence (three kills, four digs); McDonough (two kills, three assists); Olson (one kill, seven digs); Wendt (one kill, one dig); Stalboerger (one block, four digs); Lord (nine assists, three dig); Wilson (eight digs).


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