Onekama volleyball sweeps Suttons Bay

Onekama’s Elizabeth Domres (8, left) and Colleen McCarthy (5, right) go up for the block during the Portagers’ 3-set win over Suttons Bay in their Northwest Conference volleyball opener on Tuesday. (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

Onekama’s Elizabeth Domres (8, left) and Colleen McCarthy (5, right) go up for the block during the Portagers’ 3-set win over Suttons Bay in their Northwest Conference volleyball opener on Tuesday. (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

ONEKAMA — Onekama began its 2017 Northwest Conference volleyball season the right way, sweeping Suttons Bay in three sets, 25-28, 25-12, 25-22 Tuesday.

The win should be especially encouraging for the Portagers (2-2-1 overall, 1-0 Northwest), who came out on the wrong end of a lopsided score against the Norsemen, falling 11-25, 16-25, 7-25 in the 2016 league opener.

“They took it to us last year,” Onekama coach Linda Elo said. “I’m thrilled, just ecstatic. The girls did a great job. The serving was awesome, I’m really proud of them for that.

“I’ve got a lot of young players stepping up in positions, and they did great tonight.”

The Portagers start three sophomores, including libero Emma Niederstadt, and all of them made their presence felt in the win. Hanna Hughes led the way with 17 assists and 5 aces in the match and Colleen McCarthy had a team-high nine kills.

Hughes started the match off with a serving ace, and Niederstadt served up a 4-0 run in the middle of the first set to give Onekama a 14-8 lead. The Portagers closed out the set on 1 7-1 run, to take the first frame 25-18.

Niederstadt’s clean ace in the second set made the score 19-12, part of an 8-0 run to close out the win 25-12.

Onekama started the third set strong, taking a quick 4-0 lead, but Suttons Bay (0-8, 0-1) simply did not go away, and rallied back to tie the score 5-5, causing Elo to call a quick time-out.

McCarthy served during a 6-0 run that gave Onekama a 15-9 cushion, but again the Norsemen rallied back, closing the gap to 18-14 and gaining just a bit of momentum.

But Niederstadt served up a 4-0 run, in which she notched 2 aces, to get the Portagers back on track, and they never trailed in the set again.

Elo called another time-out with her team clinging to a 20-17 lead, which she said was more about motivation that a tactical change.

“It was like an energy time-out. I wanted to get them pumped up again, get them talking again and get them focused,” Elo said. “I had some players getting tired. We do some tough-minded stuff in practice, and this is one of those times when I ask them, ‘Remember those practices? Time to pick it up.’”

Katelyn McGrady led Onekama on a 4-0 run from the service line to open up a bit of breathing room, 24-17, but Suttons Bay again rallied back to within two points of tying the set, before the Portagers finally got the final point to complete the sweep, 25-22.

“We had some team cohesiveness, which is really good,” Elo said. “They came together as a unit, and when I saw the energy level drop down, I got after them a little bit. They know what they need to do, and they did it tonight, I’m really proud of them. They’re catching on quick.”

Next up for Onekama is a non-league tri-meet with Brethren and Traverse City Christian at home on Thursday, Sept. 7.

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Posted by Scott Yoshonis

Scott is the sports editor of the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach him at (231) 398-3112 or syoshonis@pioneergroup.com.

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