Mallory Cardinale lives up to her reputation as the Chippewa Valley go-to person on the volleyball court.
Cardinale had five of his team-leading 11 kills in a 6-0 run late in Game 3 on Monday that led the Big Reds to a 25-16, 25-15, 25- 20 against Lake Shore in the first round of the Division 1 District Tournament hosted by the Shorians.
“She’s had a great year,” coach Chris Hull said of Cardinale. “When she has the opportunity to shine, she takes care of it. That’s what we needed. She’s a good center in our attack.
Lake Shore had taken a 19-18 lead on an ace serve from Grace Hanke, but Cardinale got a side on a kill to tie the game. She then got four more kills on Gabby Bial’s serves to put Chippewa Valley ahead 24-19. The Shorians got a team to go 24-20, but Cardinale’s kill gave the Big Reds a shot and sent them into Wednesday’s 5 p.m. semifinal against L’Anse Creuse Nord.
“She’s been unstoppable all year,” Hull said. “She’s a smart player. I don’t give her rest unless she’s really tired and lets me know. She is in the field 95% of the time. She does every part of the game well. She is high spirited so the girls turn to her when the team is having a tough time.
Cardinale tries not to think about getting tired.
“Here and there I do, but when I’m on the pitch I don’t focus on fatigue,” she said. “I’m focused on getting the next point and ending the rally.”
Chippewa Valley experience was a factor in the win over a young Lake Shore team.
“We’ve all been so close to each other as a senior-led team,” Cardinale said. “We are like a family on the pitch. We have three juniors and they fit in very well. I feel like we’ve grown a lot over the years.
Last year, the Big Reds lost in the first round of the state tournament, and the loss fueled this year’s team.
“It gives you the motivation to come back next year and put all our efforts into it,” said Cardinale. “I’m really happy we won this game so we can move on.”
Hull said having a team full of seniors makes her job easier.
“They gained experience in the last year going through pressure situations,” he said. “Now they know how to control anxiety and stress. I don’t need to talk to them a lot when they’re on the pitch. All my seniors are good leaders with lots of game time under their belts.”
Kristin Tesch was also an offensive force for Chippewa Valley with eight kills. Cardinale led with 16 digs and Bial had seven. Emma Fraser was good on 90% of her serves and she also led with 18 assists.
Winning in three games was a welcome break for the Big Reds, who have played four of their previous five games in Game 5.
Lake Shore coach Margaret Kwapisz hopes her team will make the same progress next year as Chippewa Valley did this season.
“They kept fighting until the end and that’s what we wanted,” Kwapisz said. “I’m looking forward to next year. I’m only graduating three seniors.
Kwapisz brought in Madison Perkowski and Grace VanDenstorm from junior college and they helped spark the rally that gave the Shorians the lead late in Game 3.
Setter Samaia Cotton played a solid game for the Shorians. She gave Lake Shore an early lead in Game 2 with three straight serves.
“She’s got really good hands,” Kwapisz said. “She’s all over the field. She’s playing travel this year, so that should help her.
Senior Sydney VanDerHaegen played well in his last college game.
“She’ll play wherever I ask her,” Kwapisz said. “She played DS (defensive specialist) for us and she did a good job.”
The Shorians have been plagued with injuries for most of the season and at one point were down to just six players. The most serious injury was to libero Samantha Dietz, who missed the entire season after ACL surgery.
“He’s one of the best liberos I’ve had,” Kwapisz said. “She will be back next year.
Anchor Bay 3, L’Anse Creuse 0: Anchor Bay won the first round match at Lake Shore.
Cousin 3, Sterling Heights 0: Cousino advanced to the Ford district.
Lakeview 3, Roseville 0: Lakeview moved forward with the sweep.
BCD Tournament: Lutheran North went undefeated to win the Macomb County BCD Tournament, beating Armada 25-18, 25-16 in the semi-finals and Regina in the final 25-17, 25-16. Julia Valenti managed 30 eliminations that day and reached 0.638. Meredith Johnson had 29 receptions, 30 digs and 28 points. Kaylee Lathrop had 47 assists and 23 digs. Megan Marshall added 25 digs, 11 receptions and 11 knockouts.