By RON DEUTER
KINGSFORD - Kingsford continued its tear through the early MHSAA volleyball tournament bracket by sweeping aside Gladstone 25-12, 25-13, 25-18 in a quick Class B district title match here Thursday.
Theresa Peterson/The Daily News Photo
Kingsford’s Margo Wittenbach (17) fires a shot through Gladstone blockers Emily Dykowski (11) and Callie Jensen (20) during Thursday’s Class B District 64 championship match. Andrea Roell (8) looks on for Kingsford.
The Flivvers, district champions for the first time since 2007, now head to regional play at Houghton Lake where they will take on Ogemaw Heights Tuesday at 6 p.m. (Central).
Ogemaw Heights won its district with a 3-1 decision over Roscommon.
"They've come such a long way from the first match we played," first-year Flivvers coach Mandie Meyer said of her team. "They've just come so far, it's awesome."
Backed by the explosive firepower of Carlee Benzie and Margo Wittenbach, who each tallied match highs with 13 kills, the Flivvers' outside attach was just too much for Gladstone to overcome.
"It's our serve reception that allows us to run our offense," Meyer said. "If we had awesome hitters and no serve reception, it wouldn't matter.
"To be able to run whatever we want in the front makes it easy for us, and hard on the other team."
While commenting that the whole team can pass well enough for the Flivvers to run their offense, Meyer noted that libero Marissa Menghini is among the team's best passers of late.
"She has been nailing passes left and right," Meyer said.
Along with her kill total, Benzie served a match-best five aces. Brooke Sanford had four kills and three aces, and Andrea Roell put down five kills and a block. Shelby Londo led Kingsford with five digs.
"They are so excited to go downstate," a proud Meyer said.
Lexi Hongisto led Gladstone with eight kills, while Callie Jensen posted a match-high 12 digs.
The Braves hung longest in set three, leading briefly and down just 13-12 before Wittenbach tipped one for a point and followed with a spike for another tally.
Andrea Roell and Benzie added additional kills and the Flivvers were on their way to a team picture with a trophy.
"Overall I have a young team," Gladstone coach Liz Gendron said. "Throughout the season they improved tremendously.
Kingsford is a great team. They are going to go far. They did great job, and good luck to them."
Carlee Benzie - 13 kills, 5 aces, 3 digs; Marissa Menghini - 3 digs; Andrea Roell - 5 kills, 1 ace, 1 block; Brooke Sanford - 4 kills, 3 aces; Lillian Slajus 1 kill; Margo wittenbach - 13 kills, 3 digs; Lauren Smith - 3 kills; Shelby Londo - 1 ace, 5 digs.
Mackenzie Pardonnet - 3 kills; Summer Demeuse - 3 kills, 10 digs; Lexi Hongisto - 8 kills, 1 block, 1 ace, 5 digs; Emily Dykowski - 1 block assist; Jessica Beaudry - 3 kills, 1 block assist, 1 block, 3 digs; Kelsey Fournier - 1 dig; Grace Zimmerman - 1 ace, 11 digs; Callie Jensen - 1 kill, 1 ace, 12 digs.