TAWAS CITY – While home games are still out of the question due to the MHSAA’s restrictions on moderate-risk sports, the Tawas Area volleyball team hit the road on Friday to open its season. 

The Lady Braves battled it out at Roscommon in a quad, going 1-2 on the day. This also doubled as some of the first high school competitions in the state since the MSHAA shuttered sports on March 12 due to the coronavirus surge. 

“It went really well for us,” head coach Carol Elowsky said. “We were actually surprised that we got to play but the girls have been working hard and the day went really smooth.” 

The Braves opened with a two-set loss to Reese in what was their first indoor action this season.

“The girls seemed to be a little hesitant just trying to get the feel for being on the court again,” Elowsky said. “Since we have been working outside on a court that isn’t the same dimensions as a real court and with a lower net they took a while to get their bearings on the inside court.  Hanna Edmonds and Paige Barringer really took the lead in this match with consistent passing and a strong front row presence. Their leadership was evident right from the start as they realized with no spectators allowed that they would need to provide the cheering to keep our team motivated and pushing forward.”

Match two saw Tawas get the better of Roscommon in a bit of a marathon, 25-21, 22-25 and 25-23.

“This was a really long match for us lasting over an hour,” Elowsky said. “We were very evenly matched with them and it was great to get the win because they are a team in our district.  We were able to really run our offense and our passing was really strong. Elle Brownell did a great job blocking for us on the net and Hayley Lingo our libero played a really strong game defensively.  Paige Barringer and Hanna Edmonds both did an excellent job hitting for us as well as passing in serve receive.”

Kaylee Kaems led the team in assists and Barringer set the school record for career aces, tallying 297. 

The Braves dropped their final match of the day to Hale in two sets, 25-19 and 25-18.

“This was not our best match of the day, we were really tired after the long match with Roscommon and this early in the season, we just didn’t have the stamina to push through the match,” Elowsky said. 

The coach pointed out the play of Elise Klinger and Olivia Morand.

“We were able to get some really good playing time for our younger players during this match,” Elowsky said. 

All things considered, the Braves felt good just to be back on the court.

“I think it was a great start to the season,” Elowsky said. “Our team adapted quickly to all the new Covid protocols.  Probably the area that we will be working on this week in definitely our blocking and we struggled with our serving.  We are really focused on speeding up our offense and we proved we have the passing to do that. 

“We will also looking to improve our conditioning so that we have the ability to push through the longer matches that we know we will see in our district this season. The team chemistry is great with this group and they move together as one unit offensively and defensively and that is great to see this early.”

Tawas (1-2 overall) heads to a quad at Boyne City on Thursday. The Braves are also scheduled to host Whittemore-Prescott on Tuesday, Sept. 1, if indoor play is permitted in the region. 

“We feel very fortunate to be getting to play at all this season and we are looking to take advantage of every chance we get on the court,” Elowsky said. 

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