IM 3, Gwinn 1
By BURT ANGELI
IRON MOUNTAIN - Iron Mountain got back on track Thursday, overcoming the loss of a starter to spill Gwinn 3-1 (25-11, 19-25, 25-14, 25-20) in Mid-Peninsula Conference volleyball.
The Mountaineers bounced back from Tuesday's rare defeat to league rival Norway.
"Coming off the Norway game, we worked a little bit on our defense," said Mountaineer coach Jeanne Newberry, who heard "happy birthday" from her players after the match. "I'm proud of the girls for bringing their 'A' game.
"It's always hard to lose early in the week and then come back."
Sarah Girard spikes and diving digs from Abby Gerhard and Maria Pirkola highlighted the first set.
However, Pirkola went down late in the first set with a match-ending shoulder injury. The Modeltowners came back to win the second set but Newberry liked the way Gianna Hill, Sarah Girard, Abby Gerhard and Marti Pirkola, Maria's sister, picked up the slack at the net.
"My front row was hitting the ball," Newberry said. "They took the power off and started pecking away at the holes.
"Gwinn has a great defense. When we did place it down, they were still picking it up."
Modeltowners' Morgan Bruce collected six kills while Shelby Talsma, Kaylee Sanderson and Katie Aho each added five. Daabii Reinhart tallied 14 digs and Aho had 13.
"They were aggressive, kept the momentum and didn't let up," Gwinn Coach Stephanie Bahrman said of the second-set victory capped by a Talsma spike. "Iron Mountain played very well (in winning the match). They were smart. They knew where to hit, where to tip and our defense just didn't work around."
Gwinn (1-1 MPC) visits Manistique on Tuesday.
"Gwinn has a very talented team," Newberry said.
The Mountaineer coach also cited senior setter Katelynn Johnson plus a relaxed attitude after the setback to Norway.
"Katelynn did a good job on her defense," Newberry said. "She was faster than I've seen her all year.
"This team enjoys playing and seemed to be not as tense as they have been. They realize they had to stay strong and finish strong."
Iron Mountain (2-1 MPC) hosts Ishpeming on Thursday.