Portager spikers take 3-set sweep from Lakers

Onekama’s Sydnee Hrachovina (7) sends the ball over the net during the Portagers’ 3-game sweep of Bear Lake in a non-conference volleyball match Thursday night. (Kyle Kotecki/News Advocate)

Onekama’s Sydnee Hrachovina (7) sends the ball over the net during the Portagers’ 3-game sweep of Bear Lake in a non-conference volleyball match Thursday night. (Kyle Kotecki/News Advocate)

BEAR LAKE — Onekama volleyball made the short trip to Bear Lake for a non-conference contest Thursday and swept the Lakers by scores of 25-15, 25-18 and 25-18.

“We were playing together well,” said Onekama head coach Linda Elo. “We got everybody in, which is good. All the subs that came in picked it up and played the game so I was really happy to see that.”

The Portagers led 5-2 when Ellie Magnan toed the service line in game one. Magnan recorded three aces as Onekama held serve for 12 points before the Lakers finally forced a side-out and made the score 17-3.

The Portagers held an  23-10 lead when Bear Lake’s Abby Cross stepped to the line to serve five consecutive times, cutting the Onekama advantage to 23-15. A booming spike by Colleen McCarthy eventually secured the first set for the Portagers.

The loss puts Bear Lake 5-6 in dual meets on the season.

“Tonight we were flat,” said Bear Lake head coach Marla Evans. “Very flat. Onekama has a very talented team. I don’t think that’s a surprise to anybody. We’re playing flat. Not that this is any reason for us to play the way we did (Thursday), but we are battling some injuries. We’ve had a lot of absences lately for sickness. The girls are just getting back and that’s why our starting lineup was random tonight — at best. We just couldn’t pull it together.”

Onekama took a 13-4 lead in the second set before the Lakers started to battle back. An ace by Bear Lake’s Julie Schmidt pulled the Lakers to within 19-16 but that was as close as they would get before Maggie Domres ended up tipping the ball over the net to give the set to Onekama.

“(The Portagers) came off some really tough games so I said they had to keep playing tough,” Elo said. “I think that helped a little bit. We kept the serving going pretty well. They served pretty well tonight.”

McCarthy had a team-high 15 kills while Sophie Wisniski chipped in with six. Hanna Hughes led the Portagers in assists with 20 and Kaitlyn McGrady recorded three solo blocks.

The third set was the Lakers’ strongest, and the 5-5 tie was the first time Bear Lake was able to pull even with Onekama on the night. The teams were tied as late as 9-9 before the Portagers pulled away and a Laker net violation gave Onekama the win.

“Our setter, Olivia (Hejl), she just works her tail off out there,” Evans said. “She was digging out of the net. She was doing everything she was supposed to. She was in her place where she needed to be all the time. Our transitioning tonight from offense to defense was slow. Our serves were awful. Our attacks were weak at best. We just weren’t playing our game tonight.”

Hejl had eight assists for the Lakers. Cross recorded four kills and two digs, Kaitlyn Omar had two kills and two blocks, Mariah McLouth had two kills and an ace and Shaeley Waller tallied one ace, two kills and two digs.

Though always happy to come away with a win, Elo noticed a necessary improvement she hopes the team can make moving forward.

“No system errors,” Elo said. “We had a couple of those and we want to eliminate those.”

The Portagers travel to Buckley Tuesday for a Northwest Conference showdown at 6 p.m. and Bear Lake next competes in the West Michigan D League Championship tournament at Big Rapids Crossroads Saturday at 9 a.m. 

“We’re moving forward from this,” Evans said. “Onekama is a great team — I’m not taking anything from them. They played a great game. I told (the Lakers) not to let it get them down. We’re going to rest up for a couple days here and we’re going to hit Saturday pretty hard.”

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