St. Francis knocks out Benzie Central to open district play | Local Sports

MAPLE CITY – A Benzie Central assistant coach decorated the team’s bench with a red ribbon and hung a flag over the entrance to the gym in a neutral place before the game on Tuesday.

“She wanted to make it something special, even though we are not at home,” said Madison Lutzke, head coach of Benzie volleyball.

In a way, the county tournament match was special. Tuesday marked Benzie’s first year playing a Division 3 playoff match after many years as a Division 2 school and in a county class with Cadillac. The Vikings have won 15 district titles in a row.

The outcome wasn’t much different, however, when Traverse City knocked out St. Francis Benzie Central in a 3-0 sweep (25-10, 25-19, 25-15) to open the district game at Glen Lake. The gladiators will face Mancelona in the semi-finals on Thursday.

“We want to be super focused because we know if we lose, that’s it,” said TCSF Senior Maggie Jarema. “We want to keep winning. I would like to see that we do well for the season. “

The gladiators allowed several draws in the second set, but did not lag behind. Benzie took an early one-point lead in the third set, but St. Francis finished the race on a 10-4 run, highlighted by a diving out-of-bounds dig from freshman Avery Nance.

St. Francis trainer Kathleen Nance praised the game of her two middle blockers Maggie Jarema and Gwen Bramer for asserting themselves well online.

“We got really strong,” said Kathleen Nance. “Set one, we played pretty well without any mistakes; Then we let go of the gas in the second set, but then we caught fire in the third set. “

Jarema led the gladiators with five blocks on the net. Senior Alexis Ochab led with eight kills. Junior Gwynneth Bramer, sophomore Garnet Mullet, and senior Campbell Domres each had five kills. Avery Nance had 23 assists and seven digs. Emily Erhardt led the excavations at 10.

Benzie was led by two-year-old Ava Bechler with seven kills. Second grader Kara Johnson took a team runner-up in kills with three and led in digs with 12. Junior setter Autumn Wallington had 11 assists. Sophomore Sky Hawkins also had 11 digs.

The Huskies (3-24-3) didn’t have a senior in their squad this fall. Each of the six juniors and five sophomores will return next year with solid season and playoff experience.

“There is a level of maturity that we still lack a little in my opinion,” said Lutzke. “This is a great study and it will make you even hungrier for the next year.”

The playing time for the game with Mancelona is set for 5pm back at Glen Lake.

BRACKET BITS: Elk Rapids swept the Grand Traverse Academy 3-0 (25-4, 25-18, 25-6) in the late game on Tuesday. The Elks will face Glen Lake in the second round on Thursday at 6:30 am, after the St. Francis / Mancelona game. The winners of both games will play in the district finals on Saturday at 12 noon. … The winner of the district of Glan Lake will compete against the winner of the district of East Jordan in a regional competition in Charlevoix next Tuesday.

Follow Andrew Rosenthal on Twitter @ByAndrewR

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