CHARLEVOIX – It was a solid weekend of volleyball for the Cheboygan Chiefs, who took second place honors at the Charlevoix Invitational on Saturday.
The Chiefs (10-7-4), who finished 3-1-2 that day, made it all the way to the finals to face host Rayders. However, they ended up suffering a loss to Rayders (23-25, 17-25) in a straight-set match.
Tied 18-18 in the first set, an untimely scorecard error occurred, with a Cheboygan point being added to Charlevoix’s score. Despite pleading for a correction, the Chiefs weren’t awarded the point. The Chiefs then lost the set by two points.
“It was a solid game for both teams,” Cheboygan coach Kris Jewell said. “I’ve been talking to the girls about controlling what you can and letting something you can’t control ignite you and motivate you to win. Charlevoix’s first set win gave them more of a boost, and they (Charlevoix) are came out with an enthusiasm and momentum that we couldn’t match I’m not one to blame anything for a loss but the problem in the first set certainly provided a change of momentum that you can’t deny had an effect.
The Chiefs were never able to recover and saw their day end after a second loss.
“Another good day,” Jewell said. “Some of the things we worked on to improve definitely happened. I would like to see fewer missed serves in the future. We are generally a pretty good serve team, but we missed more serves than usual. But we also had a lot of good things.
Jewell praised the play of senior libero Cassidy Jewell, who had a good day defensively.
“She was talking and moving well, earning a minimum of 10 digs per game,” Coach Jewell said of Cassidy Jewell.
In the semi-finals, the Chiefs fought back from behind to claim a hard-fought victory over Johannesburg-Lewiston (22-25, 25-23, 17-15) in three sets.
“Joburg easily looked like the best team in the gym all morning, with three stellar hitters,” Jewell said. “We knew we had to play good defense, be in a good position to dig their hitters, as well as hit the blocks at the net.”
Down 20-13 at one point, the Chiefs made things interesting by cutting the deficit to two late in the first. During the set, Lia Basanese, Makaela Steiner and Mya Collino each played key roles in the comeback attempt, but the Cardinals held on for the win.
Facing a 22-17 second-leg deficit, the Chiefs showed tremendous resilience as they took the lead with a 7-1 streak. During the push, Kenzie Burt and Collino managed to kill the Chiefs. A kill from Burt won the set for Cheboygan and tied the match at 1-1.
In what turned out to be a blow of a third set, Cheboygan – who held a 14-10 lead – gave up a 5-0 run at JoBurg and fell behind. Once again, however, the resilience was shown by the Chiefs, who defeated the Cardinals with three straight runs, including a kill and an ace from Steiner.
“It was a proud moment for me as a coach,” Jewell said. “I saw aggressive play from all of the players. Callie Wanke did everything she could defensively to keep the balls in play, and was a strong vocal presence on the pitch, which was imperative someday. where Kenzie Burt needed help, because she wasn’t feeling well, but gave it all to him despite it.
The Chiefs recorded a 1-0-2 clip in pool play, parting ways with Manistique (19-25, 25-16) in their opener, beating Pellston (25-3, 25-11) in their second game and parting ways with St. Ignace (19-25, 25-14) in game three.
Cheboygan picked up a win over Negaunee (25-16, 25-11), with Basanese tallying nine kills, and Collino registering three kills, five aces and four digs.
Collino earned a spot on the tournament’s six-member squad, which finished with 22 kills, 40 service points, 20 digs and six aces. Also for Cheboygan, Basanese had 36 kills, Jewell had 57 digs and 25 service points, and Steiner had 72 assists and 30 service points.
Cheboygan travels to Newberry for a Straits Area Conference matchup on Thursday, September 21.