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Carney Volleyball advances

Semifinals on Friday at Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek

MANISTIQUE — A two-month layoff from competition couldn’t curb Carney-Nadeau’s excitement here Tuesday night in a 3-1 (25-21, 25-16, 27-29, 25-18) volleyball triumph over the Rudyard Bulldogs in a Division 4 state quarterfinal match.

The victory sends C-N to Friday’s semifinals at Battle Creek where it will face Auburn Hills Oakland Christian in a 2 p.m. Eastern time match.

“We were very excited to be playing again,” said C-N senior outside hitter Taylor Kedsch, whose kill into mid-court secured the decision. “We were riding a high. I think we were pretty close to where we were when the season got delayed (due to COVID-19). We were down there when I was a sophomore, and we’re very excited to be going back downstate.”

C-N took a seemingly-comfortable 17-5 lead on a hitting error by the Bulldogs in the finale.

The Wolves then committed a pair of hitting miscues, and Paige Postma hit a service ace as part of a four-point service run to bring the Bulldogs within 17-10.

C-N got a sideout for an eight-point cushion before Rudyard trimmed its deficit to 18-13 on back-to-back kills by Brooklynn Besteman.

The Wolves got a sideout on a Bulldogs’ service error, then extended their advantage to 23-14 on a kill by junior outside hitter Mel Baumler.

“I think we just lost our momentum, and they gained momentum,” said Kedsch. “In the fourth set, we just all stayed positive. They have some good hitters. They’re a good team, very similar to Peshtigo.”

“The girls just wanted this one so bad,” said first-year Rudyard coach Amanda Reid

“They were a great team,” said C-N coach Steve Kedsch. “It’s too bad we had to sit out two months. We could get the lead, but they kept battling back. Our girls were starting to wear down a little. I thought Liana (Blahnik) had a great night in the middle and serving. Taylor hit the ball real well, and Haley (Ernest) passed the ball well.”

Blahnik served for 22 points, including three runs of five or more points. She finished with four aces, 17 kills and 21 digs. Taylor Kedsch added 17 points, 17 kills and 20 digs. Senior setter Haley Ernest collected 31 assists and 15 digs.

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