Grayling wins 3-1 vs. Kalkaska during last home series of the year
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
The varsity girls volleyball team from Grayling High School, during its last home meet of the 2018 fall season on Tuesday night, defeated the Kalkaska Blazers 3-1 in a best of five Lake Michigan Conference series.
It was senior night for the Vikings. The squad has six seniors – Esa Powers, Zora Binert, Grace Lochinski, Nicole Oppermann, Hailey Hartman, and Madi Longendyke – and the program honored them prior to the start of Tuesday’s meet.
Also, the six seniors played together during all of game one vs. Kalkaska. It was a close match from beginning to end. The game was tied at 9-9 and 14-14 early in the contest. Highlights for Grayling included a block by Longendyke, a kill by Hartman, and an ace by Lochinski.
The Vikings led 21-18 after an ace by Powers, but the Blazers battled back to tie the score at 22-22. Grayling won the next two volleys to lead 24-22. The next four points went to Kalkaska, and the Blazers won game one 26-24.
The Vikings won 25-14 during game two of the series, tying the meet at 1-1. Grayling built a big lead early, winning 14 of the first 19 volleys.
Game two highlights for the Vikings included two kills by Allie Moffit, a kill by Hartman, an ace by Lochinski, an ace by Moffit, and a kill by Nicole Oppermann.
In game three, the Vikings had a 13-1 advantage after 14 serves. Grayling’s points included two kills by Moffit, a kill by Oppermann, and an ace by Ellie Wagner. Grayling won the contest by a final score of 25-16, giving the Vikings a 2-1 series advantage. Down the stretch, Grayling highlights included two kills by Hartman, a kill by Oppermann, and a kill by Moffit.
Game four. Kalkaska led 6-1 early. The Blazers also led 9-3 later in the contest.
The Vikings battled back. Trailing 17-14, Grayling tied the game with a kill by Hartman, a block by Longendyke, and an ace by Lochinski. The Vikings won the next three volleys to lead 20-17. Grayling scored again on a block by Longendyke, capping a 7-0 run by the Vikings.
After a point for Kalkaska, Grayling scored on a hit by Lochinski and an ace by Wagner. The Blazers tied the score at 23-23 with a 5-0 run.
Grayling won the next two volleys, clinching a 25-23 victory in game four, and securing a 3-1 win in the series.
“Good win for us. To me this was significant because we had seen (Kalkaska) twice already and split with them twice. The girls were pretty fired up for tonight,” Coach Tim Zigila said.
“Fun on senior night to have all the seniors play together that first game. I thought that first game Madi did an outstanding job on her digs and serves. I thought all the seniors played well,” Coach Zigila said. “The kids played well in the fourth game. They responded well after being down.”
The Vikings will end their 2018 regular season with a quad meet at West Branch Ogemaw Heights on Thursday, October 25.
For the Michigan High School Athletic Association playoffs, Grayling is in District 34-2 this year, a bracket that will also include Kalkaska, Kingsley, Sault Ste. Marie, Boyne City, and Cheboygan.
Boyne City is the host school for all of the District 34-2 games this year.
In the first round, Kalkaska and Cheboygan drew byes. On Monday, October 29, Grayling will battle the Kingsley Stags at 5:30 p.m. and Sault Ste. Marie will play against Boyne City during the second series of the night.
The winner of the Grayling vs. Kingsley series will advance to a semifinal match vs. Kalkaska at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 30. In the second semifinal match on October 30, Cheboygan will play against the winner of Boyne City vs. Sault Ste. Marie.
The District 34-2 championship game is slated for Thursday, November 1, at 7 p.m.