No. 3 Manistique’s season ends with straight-set loss to No. 1 Calumet

Manistique junior Clara Cunningham prepares to serve the ball during a MHSAA Division 3 Regional semifinal volleyball match against Calumet on Nov. 7, 2023 at Marquette High School.

MARQUETTE — The clock struck Midnight on No. 3 Manistique volleyball’s 2023 season on Tuesday.

The Emeralds fell to No. 1 Calumet 15-25, 20-25, 16-25 in a MHSAA Division 3 regional semifinal match at Marquette High School.

“It’s disappointing to lose, but I’m also so proud of the girls and everything we’ve accomplished,” Emeralds coach Amy Nixon said. “This year was very, very special. We had a big, special to-do list, and a lot of things are checked off and done on that list. I have a lot to be proud of. They have a lot to be proud of.”

Despite several battles, Manistique struggled to muster a lengthy run on the scoreboard.

In set one, the Emeralds claimed three-straight points after a trio Calumet miscues, including a four-hit violation, to pull to 15-12. The Copper Kings responded by claiming five of the frame’s next six points to open its lead to 20-13 and force a Manistique timeout.

Trailing 24-17 in set two, the Emeralds rallied for three-straight points behind a kill from Ella Schuetter, a Copper Kings’ block landing out of bounds and a Calumet misfire which landed in the net, forcing a timeout.

The Copper Kings took the next point to win the second stanza 25-20.

The Emeralds rattled off five-straight points in set three to tie the match at six, and claimed four of five points, featuring a kill by Leah Goudreau, to take a 10-9 lead.

With the third stanza tied at 12, the Copper Kings mustered a 5-2 run to take a 17-14 lead and force an Emeralds timeout. Calumet claimed eight of the frame’s final 10 points to win the match.

Calumet coach Kate Bonacorsi noted that one of Calumet’s goals on Tuesday was to limit lengthy runs by the Emeralds while making smart decisions to earn side outs.

“I thought we passed and serve received pretty well tonight,” she said. “We were able to stay in the rallies. We had some great hitting from Maddie Torola on the right side, our middles we’re scoring and by the end we’re running some more combination offense that allowed us to get open post serve.”

The Emeralds struggled to muster a consistent offense on Tuesday.

Trailing 22-13 in set one, Manistique senior Danielle Lund laid down not only one, but two blocks. Each block was received, and after a furious back and forth the Copper Kings walked away from the possession with a 23-13 lead. Schuetter was the only Manistique player who finished with 10 or more kills.

With Manistique possessing a 13-10 lead in set two, Calumet dug deep for a response. The Copper Kings mustered a 10-0 run to take a 23-10 lead and force two timeouts.

“Defensively we did a really good job today, maybe better than we have been playing defense (this season),” Bonacorsi said. “That sense of urgency in the playoffs is setting in. We just battled. Manistique has a really good team, obviously. (We have) a lot of respect for them. Our girls really competed, stayed focused and pushed all the way through all three sets.”

Torola led the Copper Kings with 12 kills while adding seven digs, a pair of aces and a block. Jackie Kiilunen earned 11 kills to go with 12 digs and a pair of aces. Caitlyn Strom earned 16 digs to go with eight kills and a pair of aces. Isabel Loukus earned a team-best 17 digs. Laina Kariniemi earned a match-best four aces to go with seven digs and three kills. Allison Bjorn totaled five kills, four digs and an ace. Gabby Anderson accumulated five digs and a trio of aces. Lily Keranen earned eight digs. Sienna Anderson earned two digs.

“Calumet played an awesome game,” Nixon said of the Copper Kings. “Of all the film I’ve watched I have never seen them play as well as they did tonight. They definitely had to get up to play us, which feels good on my end. Unfortunately we just didn’t put enough pressure back on them to stay with it.”

Schuetter tallied 13 kills and two blocks. Senior Emma Jones earned a team-best 18 assists to go with eight digs and one kill. Goudreau earned a team-best 11 digs to go with five kills. Junior Clara Cunningham added four digs and a block. Junior Kamry Florin totaled 10 digs and a block. Sophomore Maya Carlson added 10 digs. Sophomore Kyra Carlson finished with a dig and a kill. Lund earned six digs, a block and a kill.

Nixon takes pride in the Emeralds’ ability to be united as a team in 2023.

“They really support each other and love each other,” Nixon said. “That’s really why we do this. The wins are awesome, but the life lessons, the support… who they are becoming as young women is why we do this. I just feel really proud of them and all the good things that they’ve done.”

The Copper Kings play for a regional championship at 7 p.m. Thursday in Manistique against Roscommon.


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