GLADSTONE - The Calumet Copper Kings and Gwinn Modeltowners advanced in the MHSAA Class C regional volleyball tournament by posting victories Tuesday night.
Defending champion Calumet rolled past Ironwood 25-22, 25-11, 25-7 and Gwinn topped St. Ignace 25-18, 25-20, 27-25.
The two winners return to the Gladstone High School gym for Thursday's title match, which begins at 6:30 p.m.
In the nightcap, Gwinn grabbed a 19-8 advantage on a kill by senior Chelsea Moton in the third set, but then had to weather one last charge by the Saints.
Gwinn coach Stephanie Bahrman explained what happened next.
"We put some of our non-starters in and they were cold coming off the bench," she said. "Fortunately, our starters were still warm when we put them back in. The girls kept fighting. They really wanted this one. We've been working toward this all year."
The Modeltowners put their starters back in after the Saints gained a 24-23 lead on a hitting error.
A serving error then left the teams tied at 24 and Gwinn regained the lead on a kill by senior Bella Wedig.
The Saints tied the score once more on a kill by junior Angela Donajkowski.
Wedig, however, provided a kill for a sideout and Moton secured the decision with a kill on a pass from senior setter Kaylee Arnsparger moments later.
"This means a lot to us," Bahrman said, noting Gwinn hasn't won a regional since the 1990s. "To win this in three games gives the girls a lot of confidence. Calumet is going to be a tough team to beat. But if we bring our A game, it will be a very good match."
In the first set, St. Ignace trailed just 21-18 after junior Micaela O'Rourke's tip for a kill.
Gwinn then got a sideout on a hitting error, then scored the final three points with Wedig's kill sealing the deal.
St. Ignace was also within 21-18 in the second set following a two-hit violation by the Modeltowners.
The Saints then committed a pair of hitting errors as Gwinn gained an insurmountable 23-18 advantage.
In the first semifinals of the night, Calumet seized the momentum in the second set, gaining a 9-2 advantage behind an eight-point service run by junior Catherine Frantti.
"I don't think we came out with the fire we wanted," said Calumet coach Lisa Twardzik. "We were a little tight. Catherine was a strong server in the second set. She hit nine points and six were aces. She helped the whole team loosen up."
In the opening set, the Red Devils were within 22-21 after senior Jessica Gering's block on Anderson. Calumet then scored three of the last four points, clinching that set on Anderson's kill.
"We just have to stay in system," said Twardzik. "I like the fact we're not depending on just 2-3 hitters. We have strong hitters in every rotation."