Cardinal volleyball team earns huge win at Pellston, eyes SVC crown

The Onaway High School varsity volleyball team earned one of the biggest wins in the program’s history Tuesday when it won at Pellston, 22-25, 25-13, 25-23, and 25-15.

The Hornets came into the match as the third-ranked team in Class D (the Cardinals were eighth). The Cardinals had never beaten Pellston in a Ski Valley Conference match, as the Hornets reeled off nine SVC titles in 10 years.

Onaway now sits atop the conference standings, with a 5-0 record, needing three more wins to claim the program’s first-ever SVC title. The next big one is Tuesday at talented Joburg. Onaway is 23-4-3 overall.

“One of our goals coming into the season was to win conference,” said coach Steve Watson. “With the level of competition in the Ski Valley, we figured we’d probably need to win all eight conference matches to do that.

“That meant defeating Forest Area, who has had our number, and it meant defeating Pellston. We’ve now accomplished both, but we need three more wins to accomplish our goal.”

Megan Estep had 38 assists, three aces, and 12 digs, Mariah Ehrke had 15 kills, three aces, and 26 digs, Lexi Szymoniak had 11 kills, three aces, and 10 digs, Sara Fullerton had six kills, two aces, and two blocks, and Emily Estep had 15 digs.

Earlier in the evening, the OHS junior varsity won its match with the Hornets, 25-19 and 25-22 (the Cards also won a third game, which didn’t count, 15-9). The victory improved the JV’s record to an impressive 27-4-4.

“As Coach Watson stated, ‘we set the tone for the night,’” said JV coach Kristi Bristley. “That’s a great compliment for this team.”

Ashley LaLonde had five assists, seven digs, two kills, and two aces, Elise Arkwood had five digs, six kills, and a block, Morganne Badgero had 10 digs and three kills, and Jade Galer had five digs and three aces.

Three days earlier, the Cardinal varsity finished second at a 12-team tournament at St. Ignace, winning five matches and splitting one before falling to solid Class B Sault Ste. Marie in the championship.

In pool play, the Cards beat Cedarville (21-7, 21-13), Engadine (21-8, 21-14), Newberry (21-9, 21-5), and St. Ignace (21-19, 21-7), and split with the Soo (20-21, 21-19).

Onaway, which won the pool to advance to bracket play, knocked off Inland Lakes in the seminfinals, 25-21 and 25-23, before falling to the Soo, 20-25 and 27-29.

Megan Estep had 97 assists, 20 kills, 26 digs, and 11 aces, Ehrke had 54 kills, two blocks, 50 digs, and five aces, Szymoniak had 21 kills, four blocks, 29 digs, and six aces, Devin Brsitley had 17 kills, 22 digs, and nine aces, and Emily Estep had 36 digs.

Last Thursday, the volleyball teams hosted SVC foe Gaylord St. Mary, with the varsity winning, 25-13, 25-7, and 25-11. Fullerton had eight kills, Megan Estep had 24 assists, and Bristley had seven digs.

The JV also beat the Snowbirds, 25-11 and 25-5. Ashley McGinn served 10 straight points, five on aces, while Arkwood served 13 straight points to end the match. Badgero had three kills, four aces, and three digs.

Both the varsity and JV will travel Tuesday to Joburg for the SVC match. The varsity also will be in Joburg three days earlier for a tournament.