KINGSFORD - Superior Central was down but never out and eventually turned back North Dickinson in a MHSAA Class D high school volleyball regional match Tuesday evening.
The Cougars scored a five-set 25-20, 24-26, 25-22, 15-25, 16-14 victory to advance to the regional championship match against Forest Park, a three-set winner over Lake Linden-Hubbell, 25-23, 25-17, 25-23, later Tuesday.
Tuesday's winners meet at 7 p.m. Thursday at Kingsford High School with a berth in next week's quarterfinals against Rudyard or Onaway in a match to be played at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Petoskey.
Superior Central’s Kelsey Coleman (11) delivers a kill against North Dickinson’s Kimberly Cary (4) in an MHSAA Class D regional on Tuesday at Kingsford. (Iron Mountain Daily News photo by Theresa Peterson)
Already with its first district championship and playing in its first regional tournament match, SC overcame several large deficits in the sets it won, falling behind 14-7 in the first and 8-1 in the third.
"We need to work on our serve receive because we allowed some runs we shouldn't have," Cougars coach Kris Bray said. "Even still, we stayed aggressive and that kept the momentum on our side.
"We made mistakes, but we were aggressive at the net, and I think that just kind of took the wind out of (North Dickinson's) sails a bit."
Senior Kelsey Coleman paced SC with 15 kills, while junior teammates Vanessa Freberg and Mikayla Barrows added 12 apiece.
Junior Teslyn Tyner had 17 digs to go with four kills, while senior setter Lindsey Richmond had 32 assists and 11 digs to go with four service aces.
Senior Kyla Johns came off the bench and recorded seven aces. Her serving helped turn the tide in the third set when the Cougars broke a 17-17 tie to go ahead 22-18.
The fifth set was also tied, 8-8, before two errors by the Nordics put the Cougars in front.
Miranda Jacobson, who had a monster match for the Nordics with 18 kills, 10 blocks and 18 digs, put down a tip to bring ND within one at 13-12, but Coleman blocked Jacobson on the next point.
The Nordics' Marrisa Jauquet averted SC's first match point, knocking a ball down at the net to tie it 14-14. But the Nordics were whistled for a blocking error on the next point and Coleman followed with the match-winning kill.
"Our passing wasn't there tonight," ND coach Sandy Haustein said. "I thought (setter) Gina (Rotter) had to run a lot. Our serve receive wasn't getting the ball up where it needed to be and we gave them a lot of free balls."
"I know that, traditionally, they have a solid program," Bray said of the Cougars' next opponent, Forest Park. "They are well coached. I expect them to come out swinging away and be very aggressive.
"It's a notch up from what we're used to seeing. It's gonna be an eye-opener."
The teams did not meet during the regular season.
"We're going to play our game and if we need to make adjustments, we will make adjustments," Forest Park coach Kim Bjork said. "Superior Central has a couple of big girls. They swing hard."
The Trojans pulled off their own comeback Tuesday, completing the three-set sweep with a 10-0 run for the 25-23 third-set victory.
Lexi Gussert made 21 kills for FP, including six straight during the late run that pulled her team to within 23-21.
Two hitting errors and two shots out of bounds by the Lakes ended the match.