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Five local volleyball teams still in the hunt for state championships

As we enter the final week of the 2023 volleyball season, five northern Michigan teams remain alive for state championships across three different divisions of play.

In division two, the Ludington Orioles are making a historic run this season. The team claimed the program’s first volleyball regional title since 1997 with a four-set victory over Kingsford on Thursday. That was the only non-sweep for the Orioles so far this postseason. Ludington will face Grand Rapids West Catholic in a quarterfinal match at Fremont High School on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. for the right to advance to the state semifinals in Battle Creek on Thursday.

In division three, eight ranked teams remain alive in the bracket, including fifth-ranked Traverse City St. Francis. The Gladiators are only one of two teams to score a win over a ranked opponent this postseason, as they defeated sixth-ranked Lake City in the opening round of district play. The other team that has knocked off a ranked team is St. Francis’s opponent in Tuesday night’s Quarterfinal, the seventh-ranked Calumet Copper Kings. Calumet defeated ninth-ranked Manistique in regionals last week. St. Francis and Calumet will play at Sault Ste. Marie High School at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday.


Three local teams earned their way into the final eight teams in division four, with a massive quarterfinal matchup of recent state champions Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart and Leland taking place at Ferris State University at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday. The fifth-ranked Irish are the defending division four state champions, while the fourth-ranked Comets have made it to the state championship match four times in the past ten seasons, including a state championship season in 2015. Sacred Heart defeated Leland in a quarterfinal match last season by a 3-1 count.

Last, but certainly not least, the Newberry Indians have made a tremendous turnaround in 2023 after struggling to win games the past two seasons. This year’s team has benefitted from some talented exchange students, along with a veteran and developing roster to produce the program’s first regional title since 1991. Just like Ludington, the Indians have only dropped one set so far this postseason. They will match up with ninth-ranked Crystal Falls Forest Park in a quarterfinal at Manistique High School at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday.

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