By RON DEUTER
IRON MOUNTAIN - Iron Mountain, with Abby Gerhard and Sarah Girard each tallying seven kills, swept Ishpeming 25-21, 25-17, 25-22 in Mid-Peninsula Conference girls volleyball here Thursday evening.
"Communication is everything, and I thought they did a good job communicating tonight," Mountaineers coach Jeanne Newberry said. "They did well on the floor."
Mountaineers managed to build a comfortable 10-3 lead in set one before Ishpeming, behind the firepower of Alesha O'Brien, climbed back into contention.
The Hematites, on an ace from Sinead Korvela, knotted set one 11-11. A couple of kills from O'Brien kept things tied at 13-13, but Iron Mountain scored five of the next eight points to regain the lead for good.
Kills by Girard and Maria Pirkola helped the Mountaineers stay in command, with a hit from Gianna Hill ending the set.
"Gianna was swinging tonight," Newberry noted.
Ishpeming ran out to a 5-1 lead in set two but couldn't hold as unforced errors racked up on the Hematite side of the court.
"Definitely unforced errors," Ishpeming coach Amy Rautiola said. "Serve receive errors, miscommunication.
"Iron Mountain has really improved since we saw them playing Negaunee earlier in the season, and it seems like they are really coming together as a team and learning to work as a team."
Rautiola also mentioned the Mountaineers run a much faster offense than any other team they've seen to date.
"The girls work hard against each other," she said. "But until you come up against an offense that quick, it's not something you can prepare for."
An impressive run of four straight aces by Pirkola helped the Mountaineers close out set two. In the final set, Katelynn Johnson ran off four serve points with two aces early to get Iron Mountain out front.
Newberry said she was impressed with her setter, Kari Sanford.
"Kari does a great job," she said. "She even got a block today. Overall it was a good team effort. Everybody got a chance to get in and it was a good win."
Along with Girard and Gerhard, Iron Mountain got four kills from Pirkola and three from Johnson. Pirkola added four blocks to go with her six aces.
"We're getting that front row in synch," Newberry said. "They are getting more aggressive."
O'Brien led Ishpeming with seven kills. Sinead Korvela added five more, as did Jessica Spencer.
Mountaineers won the jayvee match 25-8, 25-19. Iron Mountain (4-1 MPC) participates in Forest Park tournament Saturday. Summary follows:
Susie Hagan - 2 digs; Abby Gerhard - 16 digs, 7 kills; Alean Herman - 1 kill, 1 ace; Katelynn Johnson - 13 digs, 12 assists, 3 kills, 2 aces; Mandy Haferkorn - 1 dig; Sarah Girard - 12 digs, 7 kills, 2 blocks, 1 ace; Gianna Hill - 4 digs, 3 kills, 3 blocks, 1 ace; Kari Sanford - 3 digs, 2 blocks; Maria Pirkola - 6 digs, 4 kills, 4 blocks, 6 aces.