RAPID RIVER - The Rapid River Rockets shouldn't feel too bad. Forest Park does this to just about everyone.
And though the Rockets put forth a good effort on the volleyball court Thursday evening, it did little to slow down the Trojans who went on to sweep Rapid River for the second time this season 3-0 (25-15, 25-19, 25-11) in a Skyline conference match.
Trojans' middle hitter Lexi Gussert incredibly racked up 11 aces in just three sets with her deadly serve. She also led the Trojans in kills with 10. At one point in the first set, Gussert facilitated a 7-0 run, in which five of the points came directly off her serve. These weren't lazy aces, as Gussert delivered the ball with such a velocity, the Rockets simply had no chance.
Holly Richer/Escanaba Daily Press photo
Mindy DeNell of Forest Park slams one from the back row while Libby Shamion looks on during the second set against Rapid River Thursday.
"Lexi has been working on her serve all year," said Trojans coach Kim Bjork. "She's served with more consistency tonight than she has in the past."
In fact, every time Gussert or libero Abby Sommers came up to serve for the Trojans, it began a run.
"Lexi and (Abby) got a lot on us. We tried to get our points when they weren't serving," said Rockets coach Lisa Kanyuh. "They were taking good swings and had good movement on defense."
For a while in the second set, it looked as if Rapid River might accomplish something no Delta County team has done to the Trojans in quite some time - win a set.
The Rockets led in that set 12-7, but then Sommers came up to serve and began a 10-0 run that vaulted the Trojans comfortably ahead.
When the Trojans didn't have their hot hands delivering the ball, they were delivering bullets at net-front that often were too hot to handle for the Rockets defense.
"When you play Forest Park, you have to block Gussert," said Kanyuh. "The different between playing Forest Park and other teams, is when other teams get in trouble, they start trying to tip the ball. When Forest Park gets in trouble, they send Lexi to the back row and take swings."
The Trojans (24-3-3, 11-0 Skyline) had six runs of five points or more throughout, which mostly led to big insurmountable leads. In the first set, Forest Park held a 13-4 advantage at one point, in the third set, they led 21-5.
"We had some good moments tonight," said Bjork. "A couple of Rapid River's serves got to us, but we moved better and communicated better tonight.
"Rapid River is a good team though. We dont' always see good competition like that. They have good hitters and (Neena Brockway) and (Averi Kanyuh) are good on the serve."
Forest Park, hosting West Iron County Tuesday also won the jayvee match 2-0.
Forest Park - Gussert (10 kills, 11 aces, 9 digs, 2 blocks); DeNeil (3 kills, 10 digs, 1 assist); Gina Graff (6 aces, 11 digs); Sommers (3 digs)' Stankewicz (1 kill, 1 dig, 18 assists)' Shamion (3 kills, 1 ace); DeMuri (1 kill, 1 dig); Grandahl (2 kills).