Kings still on top in Kingsford

IRON MOUNTAIN – Different year, different location, same results.

The Calumet Copper Kings, following a methodical approach, retained their Kingsford Invitational volleyball title Saturday in a 25-20, 25-16 conquest of Menominee at Iron Mountain High School.

This year’s event was moved from the Kingsford High School gym, which is being re-surfaced.

Menominee built a 7-3 lead in the first set, forcing the Copper Kings to use a time-out.

Following a sideout, Terilynne Budreau served for five straight points to send Calumet ahead to stay at 9-7.

“They were trying to trick us into sending the first ball over,” said Calumet coach Lisa Twardzik. “We were trying to control the ball and play within our comfort zone. They were tall at the net and forced us into working the ball away from the middle.”

Calumet’s patience continued to pay off as it eventually built its advantage to 18-12, with an ace by Catherine Frantti providing the Copper Kings with their largest lead of Game 1.

The second set was tied at 3 before the Copper Kings used another sideout to gain the upper hand.

Calumet then built its advantage to as much as 20-9 on an ace by Loretta Anderson.

Following that ace, the Copper Kings committed four consecutive hitting errors as Menominee pulled within 20-13.

Calumet scored the next two points for a 22-13 advantage before Menominee, in a last ditch effort, trimmed its deficit to 22-16. The Copper Kings, however, didn’t allow the Maroons to get any closer.

“I think that shows the confidence our girls have in their ability,” said Twardzik. “They kept their poise.”

Calumet reached the title match with a 27-25, 25-11 triumph over Marquette.

The Copper Kings trailed 25-24 in the first set, but tied the score on a kill by junior middle hitter Ellen Twardzik.

Calumet then scored the final two points, securing the decision on a kill by Pam Torola.

“We realize the target is still on our back,” said Twardzik. “That shows the respect they have for our team, and we’re kind of flattered by that. It was just a matter of controlling the ball.”

Calumet quickly gained a 7-1 lead in the second set and kept adding to its advantage.

Menominee topped Kingsford 25-21, 25-17 in the other semifinal.

Anderson finished the day with 11 aces and 19 kills. Torola collected nine aces and 12 kills and Megan Yeo had six aces and 24 digs.

Ellen Twardzik added 18 kills. Lexie Rowe tallied 16 kills and Budreau had 10 kills to go with 72 assists in Calumet’s 5-1 offense. Alisa Storm also contributed 10 kills, with Frantti finishing with 30 digs.

Calumet, which resumes in Thursday’s Cadillac Invitational, swept Norway (21-6, 21-10), Kingsford (21-13, 21-12), Hancock (21-10, 21-8) and Negaunee (25-20, 25-15) in pool play.

Hancock opened pool play by splitting with Kingsford 21-17, 19-21. The Bulldogs then beat Negaunee 21-12, 21-14 before falling to the Copper Kings. They finished by splitting with Norway 21-17, 13-21.

The Bulldogs were tied with Norway at 8 in the second set. The Knights then ran off 10 straight points for an insurmountable 18-8 advantage.

Hancock won the first set on a hitting error, moments after a kill by Taylor Venegas gave the Bulldogs a 20-17 cushion.

Other leaders for the Bulldogs were senior Taylor Mattson and junior Nicole Anderson.

“Nicole is a phenomenal setter,” said Hancock coach Mary Kaminski. “With this being our first meet, were trying to get everybody a lot of playing time. One thing we learned is we definitely have to raise our level of play. Our people have to realize their roles and we need to be able to control the ball. Although, everything is fixable. We have the desire and athletes. Now, we just have to learn how to compete.”

Hancock is idle until Sept. 3 when it hosts Chassell.