TAWAS CITY – A long trip south resulted into a pair of wins for the Tawas Area volleyball team on Saturday. The Lady Braves, playing at the Birch Run Invitational, played perhaps some of their best of the season, according to head coach Carol Elowsky. 

“To me it seemed like the actual start of our season,” she said. “We had been able to practice in our gym and start fixing the little things that have been bothering us this year. The girls played three outstanding games of volleyball against some of the best opponents we have seen so far this season.” 

Tawas opened with a 25-16, 25-14 and 15-8 loss to host Birch Run, but rallied with a win over Pewamo-Westphalia 20-25, 25-22 and 16-14. Tawas closed out with a win over Laingsburg, 25-19. 26-24 and 12-15. 

“Pewamo and Birch Run had both made it to their regional finals last season and are always tough teams,” Elowsky said. “This team showed that we will be a force this season. The backbone of any team is its ability to pass and our serve receive was well over 85-percent for the day. 

“Paige Barringer and Hanna Edmonds really handled the tough servers from these teams and setter Kaylee Kaems is playing some of the best volleyball I have seen right now. She is putting the balls right into the hands of hitters an she is proving that she is also an offensive threat in the front row with 10 kills and a couple of great blocks.” 

Barringer led the team with 21 kills and Elle Brownell had nine blocks.

“I really like how Barrigner is working the balls around and through the blocks this season,” Elowsky said. “Brownell is also shining in the block department. It was fun to go downstate and see what these girls are capable of. I think there was a silver lining in all the time we spent outside because we focused solely on passing and it really shows. This will enable us to speed up our offense in the next few weeks and really makes us a threat moving forward.” 

On Thursday, the Braves played at Johannesburg-Lewiston, falling in straight sets, 25-19, 25-20 and 25-21.

“We had played them a week before and we really had some improvement over the last week,” Elowsky said. “We lost the match but really cut our deficit against them. Joburg has a really strong middle attack and we made a few defensive adjustments to take that into account. That being said I think we need more time in the gym to really improve our defense against this strong of an offense.” 

Edmonds led the team with 14 kills, Elise Klinger and Brownell combined for six blocks and Elowsky also noted Hayley Lingo’s defensive play. 

Tawas (3-7 overall) hosted Hillman on Tuesday, heads to rival Oscoda on Thursday, makes another trip south to Frankenmuth on Saturday.

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