Cougars crush at Rapid River

RAPID RIVER- With the exception of one set there wasn’t anything or anyone stopping the Superior Central Cougars Thursday as they won a pair of volleyball matches over Carney-Nadeau and Rapid River.

The Cougars (8-1), fresh of their sweep against Munising on Tuesday night, broke out the brooms in their first match against Carney, winning 3-0 (25-16, 26-24, 25-23).

“Carney took us a little by surprise,” said Superior Central head coach Chris Bray. “They’re really tough on defense and we were hitting right into where they were covering. It was a tough match and they almost got us. Our height advantage and our serving was able to keep us on top.”

The Wolves took a 21-20 lead in the third set, before Superior Central’s Brooke Pasanen tied the game at 22 apiece with a kill. Mikayla Barrows then went on a three point service run to give the Cougars a 24-21 lead. Carney scored twice more but ended the game with a serving error.

“I thought we played well, We kept the match close,” said Wolves head coach Steve Kedsch. “Defensively we did a good job of digging their balls. Our serve receive was improved over the last few matches. The only thing we need to do better was close things out.”

The next match the Wolves were much better at closing out, as they swept the Rockets 3-0 (25-23, 25-20, 25-14).

After two close games, the Wolves left no doubt in the third set as they jumped out to a 7-0 lead behind the serving run of senior Janel Dani. The Rockets weren’t able to recover after the slow start.

“We’ve been working on the jump serve and she hits that well, so we have been incorporating that into our offense and it paid off during that run in the third set against Rapid River,” Kedsch said.

Dani lead the Wolves (6-5) with five aces and 17 kills on the night. Kedsch said the improved serving of his squad was the difference in the game.

“They kept the intensity up and we improved on our serve receive today, which has been a struggle for us,” he said.

In the final match, Superior Central rounded out the evening edging Rapid River 25-18, 16-25, 25-22 and 25-18. Brey noted that her team came out a little flat but was able to recover on the defensive end.

“Rapid is a good rival for us, it’s always one of our more high intensity games,” Bray said. “Rapid River was pounding it at us but I felt like we were doing a pretty good job defensively and when you look at all of our digs it shows that we were covering.”

After a 25-18 loss in the first set, the Rockets bolted out to a 16-4 lead in the second game, eventually taking the set 25-16.

Rapid River head coach Lisa Kanyuh said she was encouraged by her teams play in the last three sets against the Cougars.

“They did really well in the second game and they looked pretty good out here in the third and fourth games,” she said. “We were actually running our offense and that always helps in our favor. Our passes looked good our serve receive was pretty good.”

Superior Central was able to hold on to win both the third and fourth sets. Though the team only recorded one block against the Rockets (2-9), Bray credits the win to the teams play at the net.

“We didn’t block them all but we touched a lot of balls and the fact that we touched a lot helps our defense because it gives us time to get under the ball,” Bray said. “We were yelling at the girls, ‘get up, get up’ trying to get them to jump even higher. That’s one of the things we’ve been focusing on, trying to get more blocks in the game.”

In jayvee play it was Rapid River winning 2-0 over Carney (25-23, 25-23) and 2-0 over Superior Central (25-20, 25-21). Superior Central beat Carney 2-0, (25-12, 25-11).

Superior Central plays again on Monday at Bark River-Harris and all three teams meet again next Tuesday in Superior Central for a tri-meet.