By Greg Gielczyk 

HART – Ludington seems to be gaining some momentum, and it couldn’t come at a better time. 

Despite a scare in the second set, the Orioles dominated Reed City for a three-set win that sends them to the finals of the Division 2 Division 2 volleyball district finals. 

Plagued by slow starts most of the season, Ludington quickly established its dominance against the Coyotes in the first set, bounding out to a 25-14 win. 

But the Coyotes regrouped between sets and made things a whole lot tighter, building an 18-13 lead before the Orioles finally managed to right the ship and rallied for an exciting, if a bit too close for comfort 25-23 decision. 

“The girls came out strong the first (set) and didn’t let up,” said Ludington coach Liz Holden. “Our hitters were doing so well connecting and putting balls away. Second (set) we dug a little hole, but they (the Orioles) did what they needed to and came back and took it. The third set they did not want to start slow and they came out fired up.” 

Set No. 3 reverted to the first set for the Orioles, as they rolled to a 25-14 decision and go into the finals on an emotional high. 

Clearly, the momentum from Monday’s win over Hart in the district quarterfinals served as a springboard to Wednesday’s match. 

“They did an awesome job of taking care of the ball, and putting points on the board,” said Holden. “These girls want to keep playing, and it really showed tonight. I was impressed with how well they came together and played well as a team.” 

Vaara finished the night with 17 kills, demonstrating her strong hitting from the attack position. She added seven digs and four blocks with one ace and one assist. 

Jordyn Anderson triggered the Orioles’ offense, putting up 35 assists to the hitters while contributing two aces, four digs, two kills and one block. 

Karli Mesyar showed tough with her floor game, hustling for 14 digs that kept the action going and added two assists. Mia Pung had 13 digs, Mya Bryant had four digs while Mia Voss had two digs and four kills. Laird wound up with two digs, one assist, seven kills and three blocks. 

The Orioles now take on Big Rapids, which swept Manistee in three sets in the semis, to decide the title at 6 p.m. Thursday night at Hart. 

Photos by Joe Washington