NORWAY - It was business as usual for the Calumet Copper Kings Tuesday night as they posted a 25-11, 25-15, 25-13 volleyball triumph over the Ishpeming Hematites in a MHSAA Class C regional opener.
The victory enables the Copper Kings to return to the Norway High School gym to face West Iron County in Thursday's championship match, which starts at 7 p.m. (EST).
West Iron advanced by outlasting Stephenson 3-2 (13-25, 25-19, 25-16, 11-25, 15-12) in Tuesday's opener.
Ishpeming’s Brittany Doney (12) goes for a kill against Calumet’s Loretta Anderson (17) on Tuesday in a MHSAA Class C regional semifinal volleyball match in Norway. (Iron Mountain Daily News photo by Burt Angeli)
Sophomore middle hitter Ellen Twardzik provided three straight kills in the first set, helping the Copper Kings gain a 5-2 lead.
"I thought our girls played real well in the first set," said Ishpeming coach Amy Rautiola. "I think Calumet's athleticism got to us. Some of the hits on which we'd normally get points, they dug up. Calumet has six good players on the court all the time. If they make a mistake, they don't let it get to them. They're so consistent. It's hard to match their intensity through an entire match."
Sophomore Jessica Spencer led the Hematites with five kills and two blocks. Senior Alesha O'Brien also had five kills. Natalee Dobson collected seven assists and Caitlin Korvela had nine digs for Ishpeming, which made its first regional appearance since 2005.
"Alesha did a real good job recognizing where to hit and where to tip," said Rautiola. "Overall, I think we had a nice season. We're so proud of this year's group of seniors. They just worked so hard to get us to this point."