The Onaway High School varsity volleyball team improved to 7-0 in the Ski Valley Conference, clinching at least a share of the first conference title in the program’s history, Tuesday with a straight-set victory over visiting Bellaire.
The Cardinals defeated the Eagles, 25-18, 25-16, and 25-10, and can win the SVC title outright with a win Tuesday against visiting Mancelona – a team the Cards have knocked off multiple times in tournament play.
“Sometimes it can be kind of hard to get up for games against teams you expect to defeat,” said coach Steve Watson. “But in this one, we clinched a share of our first conference title and Tuesday we can win that title outright. “That was a big goal of ours coming into the season, and we’ve stayed focused on it throughout the year. I don’t think it will be hard for these girls to get up for the match against Mancelona with a Ski Valley title riding on the outcome.”
Devin Bristley had 15 kills, nine digs, and four aces against the Eagles. Megan Estep had 29 assists and five digs, Sara Fullerton had nine kills and five digs, Lexi Szymoniak had five kills and seven digs, and Rachel Nave had nine digs.
Onaway now stands at 38-4-3 on the season, and is ranked fifth in the most recent Class D poll, one spot ahead of fellow SVC power Pellston.
Earlier in the evening, the Cardinal JV improved to 29-4-4 with a 25-16, 25-11 win over its Bellaire counterpart. The JV has not lost a match outside of tournament play this year.
Ashley LaLonde had three kills, six assists, and six aces, Elise Arkwood had six kills, five digs, and three aces, Morganne Badgero had 10 kills and three aces, Shyanne Corey had 10 digs and four aces, and Jade Galer had nine digs and three aces.
On Saturday, the varsity Cardinals won their home tournament for a sixth consecutive year, going unbeaten in six matches and dropping only one set all day.
In pool play, OHS defeated Harbor Springs (25-16 and 25-15), Mancelona (25-18 and 25-11), Hillman (25-19 and 25-13), and Cheboygan (25-13 and 25-21) to earn a top seed in bracket play.
In the semifinals, Onaway defeated Boyne City, 25-15 and 25-19, and in the championship the Cards knocked off Joburg, 25-20, 18-25, and 15-8, to once again earn the trophy.
Megan Estep (98 assists, 18 kills, 42 digs, and seven aces), was named the team’s tournament MVP, and both Estep and Mariah Ehrke (36 kills, 49 digs, and six aces) were named to the six-member all-tournament team.
Szymoniak recorded 24 kills, 43 digs, and five aces on the day, while Fullerton had 18 kills, 20 digs, five blocks, and five aces, and Bristley had 30 kills, 34 digs, two blocks, and seven aces.
Both the varsity and JV will host Mancelona on Tuesday. A day earlier, the JV will play both Rogers City and Posen in the annual Presque Isle County Championships. The OHS teams were at Rogers City yesterday (Thursday).