Onekama’s season winds to a close

Onekama’s Hanna Hughes keeps the ball alive during the Portagers’ regional semifinal loss to Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart on Tuesday in Bear Lake. (Kyle Kotecki/News Advocate)

Onekama’s Hanna Hughes keeps the ball alive during the Portagers’ regional semifinal loss to Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart on Tuesday in Bear Lake. (Kyle Kotecki/News Advocate)

Portagers ousted by Irish in Division 4 regional semifinal

BEAR LAKE — Onekama volleyball’s season came to a close with a loss to Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart in a Division 4 regional semifinal Tuesday at Bear Lake. The Portagers fell by scores of 25-21, 25-17 and 25-19.

“I think it’s a new level and some of the girls might not have been really comfortable settling in their game yet,” said Onekama coach Linda Elo. “I saw some of that tonight. Serving definitely did not help us at all. We needed to have some good serves to stay with them and we didn’t accomplish that.”

The Portagers were slow out of the gate and found themselves looking up at a 23-12 deficit in the first set. A spike by Colleen McCarthy gave Onekama a side out and the Portagers began their run.

A block by Kaitlyn McGrady pulled the Portagers to within 24-16. A McGrady kill, a spike by Sophie Wisniski, an ace by Ella Acton and a spike by McGrady made the score 24-21 but Sacred Heart closed the door on the comeback with a spike.

Elo was proud that the team continued to battle despite facing a tremendous deficit.

“That’s determination and relentlessness,” Elo said. “We work on those things and so I was really happy to see that. I just wish we had a few more points to work with there.”

A McGrady ace gave the Portagers a 3-2 advantage in the second set. The lead was to be short-lived, however, as the Irish scored the next five points and Onekama trailed 7-3. McCarthy tipped the ball into an opening to give the Portagers the serve, but it went into the net.

Elo knows exactly what facet of the game was hampering Onekama’s efforts Tuesday.

“Serving,” Elo said. “They’d get the serving rallies going and they were playing confident at those times and other times, not so confident. Probably the big word was confidence tonight.”

An ace by Sara Bromley made the score 23-14, but another thrilling comeback attempt was not in the cards and a hit out of bounds by Onekama gave the second set to the Irish.

Both teams entered the game not having dropped a set in postseason play, with Sacred Heart besting Coleman, Vestaburg and McBain Northern Michigan Christian on their way to regional play and Onekama making short work of Frankfort, Brethren and Bear Lake to win its first district title in 15 years.

In the final set, Bromley scored on a spike to pull the Portagers within two points of the Irish, making the score 5-3. Sacred Heart took a 9-4 lead before the Portagers made another move. An ace by Acton pulled Onekama within one point and the Portagers went on to tie things up at 9-9.

Hanna Hughes had a team-high 23 assists for Onekama, Wisniski had seven kills and three blocks while McCarthy led the team in kills with nine.

The Irish scored three points in a row and would hold a lead the rest of the way. McCarthy tooled a block to make things 15-13 in Sacred Heart’s favor but Onekama would get no closer.

Wisniski scored the Portagers’ final three points but it was not enough and a Sacred Heart tip found the hardwood, advancing the Irish to a regional final matchup to be played Thursday.

Sacred Heart is no stranger to postseason success, having made it all the way to the state quarterfinals last season.

Though the loss brings an end to the Portagers’ season, the players have a lot to be proud of. Onekama finished with a 34-13-2 record and captured the program’s first district title since 2003. Elo was proud with the way her players improved throughout the season.

“We had an excellent season,” Elo said. “We started our rotation with three brand-new players on the court. They’re all coming back, thank goodness. They grew a lot. We’re going to have some really strong players coming back and they really advanced a lot this year. I’m really happy with that.”

avatar

Posted by Dylan Savela

Dylan is the county reporter for the News Advocate, he also is in charge of the Small Town Life, religion and senior pages. He can be reached at (231) 398-3111 or dsavela@pioneergroup.com.

Leave a Reply