Munising cruises into Class D district volleyball final

Munising’s Daryn Johnson, center, and teammate Michaela Werner block a ball sent over by Mid Peninsula’s Kennedy Englund, far left, during a Class D district volleyball tournament semifinal at Rapid River on Wednesday. (Escanaba Daily Press photo by Avery Bundgaard)

RAPID RIVER — The Munising Mustangs and the Rapid River Rockets cruised into the Class D volleyball district final tonight with dominant performances Wednesday as they swept their opposition away in the semifinals.

Munising defeated Mid Peninsula while Rapid River took down Big Bay de Noc as the winners meet at 7 p.m. back in Rapid River.

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Munising 3, Mid Peninsula 0

In the opener, Munising overcame a slow start to blow by Mid Pen, 25-19, 25-10, 25-16.

“We came out a little slow,” Munising coach Ted Williams said. “We were just a little out of sync in the beginning. After I think it was one of those balls that we had to chase down, we got in sync from there. Our play picked up from that point on.

“Serving won (it) for us. (Our) team serving percentage was 96 percent with 13 total team aces.”

The Wolverines jumped out to a 9-4 lead to start the first set.

“The seniors led tonight for me,” Mid Pen coach Emily Kayser said. “When you’re a senior you don’t want the season to end, so they were telling the girls they had to go after everything tonight. The seniors led our huddles and we relied on them.”

But the Mustangs recovered, scoring the next five points to tie the set 9-9. The score remained close for awhile until Munising started to pull away, going up 22-16. The Wolverines scored three straight points before the Mustangs put the set away with the last three points.

It was all Munising in the second set as the Mustangs put together a 5-0 run that included three straight aces from Taylor Downs to establish a 10-3 lead. The Mustangs would cruise from there.

The third set started close with Mid Pen opening with an 11-9 lead. Munising then rattled off nine straight points to take an 18-11 lead.

“All of them are capable of making big plays at any time,” Williams said. “Of course when you put together two or three it kind of changes the momentum. I thought we got the momentum halfway through that game. Our serving and our passing took over and that kind of pushed us through.”

Skyline Central Conference all-league setter Emily Contreras passed the 400 mark in assists this season with the 28 she had Wednesday. She also contributed three digs, two aces and a kill.

“She has been a central force in the team’s success this year and her high level of skill enables us to continue moving toward a faster offense,” Williams said.

Skyline Player of the Year Kianne Wendt led the Mustangs offensively with 19 kills, 10 digs, three blocks and three aces; while teammate Daryn Johnson had seven kills and a block; Kelsea Ackerman nine digs; Michaela Werner three kills, three blocks and an ace; and Taylor Downs four aces and a block.

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Rapid River 3, Big Bay de Noc 0

In the second match, Rapid River used its serving to blow by Big Bay, 25-13, 25-9, 25-5.

With just a 8-6 lead, the Rockets scored 10 straight points in a run that included five service aces by Alexis Trombley.

“They definitely fought like they wanted it,” Rapid River coach Kristy Kerstner said. “They did want it and it showed. They came out with a lot of energy.”

The serving of Brittany Schwartz took over in the second set as she had five aces while leading the Rockets on an 11-0 run to finish the set.

The Rockets finished with 27 aces for the match, led by Schwartz’s 12.