Onaway powers its way to district final

ROGERS CITY-The Onaway volleyball team got one step closer to one of its goals on Wednesday.

And the Cardinals did it without hardly breaking a sweat.

The Cardinals jumped out to a 13-0 in the first set against Wolverine during a Class D district semifinal and never looked back. Onaway won 25-6, 25-4 and 25-14 to earn a spot in Friday’s final against Rogers City.

A win Friday would give the Cardinals their third straight district title.

Devin Bristley led Onaway with six kills, five aces and a dig. Mariah Ehrke added four kills, six aces and three digs. Taylor Ehrke had three kills, 21 assists two aces and six digs. Jade Galer chipped in with two kills, five aces and two digs.

“We’re getting ourselves ready for Friday and we look forward to playing in the district finals and maybe playing beyond that,” Onaway coach Steve Watson said. “We’ve been waiting for Friday all season and we’re looking forward to it.”

Bristley recorded four of her aces during the Cardinals’ 13-0 run to open the first set. Wolverine struggled with serve reception and Onaway’s experienced front row took advantage as Mariah and Lexi Szymoniak were among those who earned kills.

The Wildcats earned the occasional point on rare attack and serving errors by the Cardinals, but were overwhelmed by the Cardinals’ fast paced offense.

Watson used the match to give his bench players a significant amount of playing time and they rose to the challenge starting in the second set. Galer earned four of her aces in the second set, all of which came on a 16-0 run by Onaway which gave the Cardinals a 20-3 lead. With Mariah on the bench, Bristley and Szymoniak led the Cardinals’ offensively, combining for four kills in the set.

Watson was pleased with the play of his bench and said it was important for them to get postseason experience as many of them will be starters on next year’s team.

“It’s nice to do that, to have that once in a while. I thought Jade did a really good job. She played almost two whole sets, Shyanne Corey got in the front row and got a few kills,” Watson said. “These are the kids who are going to be the core of our team next year.”

Szymoniak added five kills for Onaway and Sara Fullerton had three kills and two digs. Elise Arkwood added three kills and two aces.

The Cardinals kept up the heat offensively in the third set, despite some mistakes that gave the Wildcats some easy points. Onaway had three streaks of at least five points, including a stretch where Mariah notched three consecutive aces. After a bit of back-and-forth play near the end of the set, Mariah and Galer iced the match for Onaway with a kill and an ace respectively.

Onaway and Rogers City tip-off at 6 p.m. on Friday.

James Andersen can be reached via email at sports@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5694. Follow James on Twitter @ja_alpenanews.