Forest Park swept out of districts

Carney-Nadeau wins match 25-17, 25-16, 25-5

Austin Hemmingson/Escanaba Daily Press Photo FOREST PARK’S MERCEDES Simmons, the Skyline Conference Player of the Year, spikes the ball against Carney-Nadeau’s Liana Blahnik during Wednesday’s district semifinal match at Carney.

CARNEY — Carney-Nadeau had three players selected to the Skyline Central All-Conference volleyball team earlier this week. All three proved why Wednesday night.

Taylor Kedsch, Liana Blahnik and Sandra Boulton all took turns dominating sets with service runs, and the Carney-Nadeau Wolves rolled to a 3-0 (25-17, 25-16, 25-5) triumph over Forest Park in a Division 4 district semifinal at Carney-Nadeau.

Leading 10-8 in the first set, Kedsch went on an eight-point run that consisted of three aces to put the Wolves up 18-8.

In the second set, Blahnik started serving with the Wolves trailing 6-5. She then went on a nine-point run — including four aces — to give the Wolves a 14-6 cushion.

Then, last but not least, Boulton went on a seven-point run that consisted of three aces to give C-N an insurmountable 10-2 cushion in the final frame. Fittingly so, Kedsch finished the set with another five-point run and an ace to finish the match.

“Our big three came to play tonight,” Wolves’ coach Steve Kedsch said. “Our setting was on spot and made those hitters look good tonight. We got passes to our targets, and the whole thing was just clicking tonight. It’s a good time to be peaking right now.”

The Wolves finished with 22 aces — 17 by Kedsch, Blahnik and Boulton.

“We had some spots we wanted to serve to tonight,” coach Kedsch said. “We watched their game film and we had some areas we wanted to attack tonight, and it worked out for us. It was one of those nights where things went our way.”

It was a frustrating night for the Trojans. SCC Player of the Year Mercedes Simmons was held in check as their serve receive and defense struggled, limiting what they could do on offense.

“To be the best, you have to beat the best, and that holds true,” Trojans’ coach Ana Valesano said. “They have a very good team. They’re well-rounded and we just had a lot of trouble on our defense getting things set up. I don’t think we had any big momentum gains other than like three or four points at a time, so that was difficult for us.”

The Trojans pulled within 19-15 late in the first set before Carney’s Jules Thoune put the set away with a three-point run. Outside of that, it was uphill for Forest Park.

“It was a struggle because they have good servers,” Valesano said. “They have good servers and they know exactly where to place the ball. Kudos to them because we didn’t have an answer for it and we didn’t have anyone that could pass the ball better. You try your best in the season, but once you get to the postseason, if you don’t show up you’re done. That’s kind of a tough lesson to learn.”

Boulton led the Wolves with 10 kills, seven aces, two digs and one block. Kedsch added 11 digs, 10 kills, five aces and one block, while Blahnik had five aces, four kills and two blocks. Haley Ernest had a game-high 21 assists, five digs and two aces.

Simmons finished with 13 kills, six blocks, four assists and four digs. Teammate Sydney Honkala chipped in with 14 assists, four kills, two aces, two digs and one block.

Valesano was happy with how her team performed throughout the season.

“Overall, I think we made positive strides in the right direction to be where we needed to be,” she said. “There’s never enough time in the season to get where we want to be in the postseason, but overall I think it was a positive season and I’m ready to do it again next year.”

The Wolves advance to the district championship game at Stephenson tonight at 7 p.m. EDT. The Eagles beat North Dickinson 3-1 in the other semifinal Wednesday.

“I think Stephenson was the favorite going into this district,” coach Kedsch said. “I’m just hoping we playing well again.

“We’ve had a chance to go downstate this year. We’ve had a chance to play a few state-ranked teams down there… we had a chance to play Rudyard, Escanaba and Marquette. We’ve played Stephenson and North Dickinson a few times. I think we’ve been tested this year.”

Forest Park — Simmons (13 kills, six blocks, four assists, four digs); Honkala (14 assists, four kills, two aces, two digs, one block); Ragio (eight digs, seven assists, one kill); Perry (six assists, five aces, five digs, four kills); Bloomburg (four assists, two digs, one ace); Mianecki (four digs, two assists); Bucek (four assists, one ace); Sundell (two blocks, one kill, one assist).

Carney-Nadeau — Boulton (10 kills, seven aces, two digs, one block); Kedsch (11 digs, 10 kills, five aces, one block); Blahnik (five aces, four kills, two blocks); Ernest (21 assists, five digs, two aces); Poupore (13 digs); Thoune (four assists, three aces, two digs, one kill); Kirschner (two kills, one dig).


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