Black Bears win soccer, volleyball

GARDEN CORNERS – Big Bay de Noc continued its late-season surge Monday, earning its third straight soccer triumph in a 2-0 conquest of Hannahville.

The victory enabled Big Bay to gain a split in the season series and improve to 4-14.

Hannahville won the first meeting 2-1 at home on Oct. 3.

Senior midfielder/defenseman John Green hit a 15-foot shot from directly in front of the net for the first goal, playing the ball on a bounce and lofting it over the head of sophomore goaltender Trace Sagataw.

“Good players who hustle tend to be luckier than those who don’t,” said Big Bay coach Gary Sporer. “That was a big emotional boost. Everybody calmed down a little after that goal. Yet, I’m not sure how much momentum we gained. We knew Hannahville was a good second-half team. They come at you hard. They know if they play their system, good things will happen.”

Junior midfielder Bryce Thompson provided the Black Bears with their second goal, booming a 60-yard, right angle shot well over Sagataw’s head nearly midway through the second half.

“That was just an excellent goal,” said Sporer. “Bryce’s goal gave us some breathing room and allowed us to drop back and play more defensively. That also enabled us to control the pace.”

The Soaring Eagles (10-4) had four breakaway scoring chances late in the match, but came up empty.

“We had our opportunities, but their goaltender (junior Alex Ranguette) did a nice job,” said Hannahville coach Dan Kleikamp. “I thought we played well overall. We had a lot of nice passes and played well on defense.”

Much of Big Bay’s defense focused on junior Tallen Boda, who scored both of Hannahville’s goals in the earlier meeting.

“Tallen is one of the best players in the U.P. one-on-one,” said Sporer. “We tried to get to him early. We always had somebody ready to back up our primary defenders when Tallen got past them.”

Big Bay recorded 11 shots on goal. The Soaring Eagles had six.

“We’re very pleased with the way our season turned out,” said Kleikamp. “The kids worked well together and played hard. They never gave up. Our older kids worked with the younger kids, and they were always willing to try anything.”

In volleyball, the Black Bears cruised past Hannahville 25-16, 25-7, 25-11.

The first set was tied at 11 before a kill by junior Patience Harris sent Big Bay ahead to stay.

Big Bay carried its momentum into the second set, immediately taking charge behind junior Heather LaLonde’s 11-point service run.

“Heather got us going in the second set,” said Big Bay coach Gail DeMars. “That was a big boost at that point in the match. She has always been one of our most consistent servers. After looking at her stats from the past few matches, we decided to make her our lead-off server.”

Hannahville, which split a doubleheader at Bay Mills Ojibwe Charter last Wednesday, was within 5-3 in the finale.

But after a sideout, junior Vanessa Damer hit three straight points, including two aces, to put the Black Bears up 9-3.

Big Bay senior Samantha Sundling hit nine aces and LaLonde finished with seven. Harris added an ace, three kills and two blocks. Junior Mariah Yonker had two blocks and senior Libby Thill recorded a kill.

“One of Libby’s goals was to play one full rotation and she got a kill,” said DeMars. “It was pretty cool for her to do that. Tonight, we got a chance to do some things we normally don’t get to do.”

Big Bay is idle until Oct. 29 when it visits Rapid River for a triangular meet.

Tyra Boda led off the third set with an ace for the Soaring Eagles, comprised mainly of seventh and eighth-graders.

“We made some strides this year,” said Hannahville coach Tom Ohman. “I think the girls know they have to work on some things during the off-season. We mostly need to work on serving and setting people up for spikes. The younger kids seem to enjoy the game, which gives us hope for the future.”