Kingsley stops Flivv ‘journey’

Regional semi decided in three sets

Burt Angeli/The Daily News Photos Kingsford’s Maggie Strehlow sends the ball at Kingsley in Tuesday’s MHSAA Division 2 Region 9 volleyball semifinal at Manistique. Flivvers’ Olivia Allen (11) looks on.

MANISTIQUE — Kingsford’s “journey” ended Tuesday in an MHSAA Division 2 Region 9 volleyball semifinal.

Power-hitting Kingsley overcame early deficits in the first two sets before dominating the Flivvers 3-0 (25-16, 25-13, 25-11).

“I’m proud of the team and the way they really got on the journey this year,” said Kingsford Coach Jaclynn Kreider. “We had a lot of ups and downs, and a lot of people don’t see that day in and day out.

“We got closer as a team. We just kept getting better as the year went on. Walking away from tonight we have no regrets.”

Kingsford owned a 4-0 lead in the first set and trailed 13-12 until Kingsley reeled off seven straight points. One point had the Flivvers making repeated blocks and digs to stymie the Stags.

Kingsford’s Tori Kowalkowski puts up a block Tuesday.

“They’re super scrappy defensively,” Kingsley Coach Dave Hall said of the Flivvers. “We knew they would keep some stuff alive. Their defense was all over the place. We were hitting shots, shots and shots off the block, and they did a great job.”

Future Ferris State spiker Jessica Leffler, one of two seniors on the roster, had two of her match-high 18 kills to close out the first set. The four-year starter added three ace serves.

“Jessica is a great, great player,” Hall said of the senior with about 1,900 career kills. Our hitters are relentless. They just keep coming at you, keep swinging. We don’t tip, dink and dunk a whole lot.

“We just come at you with the ball and I think that wore them down a little bit.”

Kingsley juniors Austyn DeWeese had seven kills and six blocks while Brittany Bowman added seven kills. Maddie Bies registered 25 assists.

“Getting to see hitters and defense like that, it can be frustrating,” Kreider said.

In the second set, Kingsford closed to 16-10 after an Olivia Allen kill. The Stags then posted six straight points.

Seven straight points fueled Kingsley in the third set.

“I’ll put our defense up against anybody, too,” Hall said. “They’re pretty scrappy, too. They get after it on defense and we serve real aggressively.”

Neither the Stags or Flivvers had a missed serve in the match. Kingsley had 12 ace serves, with a team-high four from sophomore Alayna Heller. Kingsford fired 41 serves, with the lone ace from Aby Pickett.

Maggie Strehlow’s eight kills and Olivia Allen’s seven led the Flivvers. Katherine Erickson had 11 assists.

“Big picture, this season for us is really about the life skills that we can take away,” said Kreider, whose Flivvers won Great Eight, GNC tournament and district titles this season. “They’re a great team but at the same time I give credit to our kids here from the UP and being able to hang in there with a team like Kingsley.”

The Stags (50-10-4) and postseason nemesis Cadillac will clash Thursday in Gaylord for the regional title and berth in the state quarterfinals.

“We’re hoping this is our year,” Hall said.

ALSO: Manistique will host Traverse City St. Francis in a Division 3 regional final. The Emeralds ousted Norway district champion Calumet 3-1.

Skyline Central Conference foes Carney-Nadeau and Munising will meet at Westwood for a regional title. The Wolves downed Wakefield-Marenisco 3-1 and the Mustangs spilled Lake Linden-Hubbell 3-1.

Rudyard advanced to a Division 4 regional final by clipping Pellston 3-0. The Bulldogs and Onaway, a 3-0 winner over Pickford, will meet for the title.

Kingsford summary:

Brooke Kriegl — 7 digs, 1 assist

Lexi Roberge — 1 dig, 9 assists

Olivia Allen — 11 digs, 7 kills

Tori Kowalkowski — 1 dig, 1 block assist, 2 kills

Katherine Erickson — 4 digs, 11 assists

Maggie Strehlow — 12 digs, 1 solo block, 1 block assist, 8 kills

Aby Pickett — 1 dig, 1 solo block, 1 block assist, 5 kills, 1 ace

Ali Doolittle — 5 digs, 1 block assist, 2 kills