By BURT ANGELI
FELCH - North Dickinson dominated the first two sets and turned back Mid Peninsula in the third to advance to the Class D District 126 volleyball finals Wednesday at Carl F. Lemin Gymnasium.
Burt Angeli/The Daily News Photo
North Dickinson’s Lexi Steele (3) slams the volleyball at Mid Peninsula’s Krysta VanDamme (24) in Wednesday’s Class D District 126 volleyball semifinal at Carl F. Lemin Gymnasium. Nordics’ Taylor Steele (left) and Marissa Jauquet follow the play.
The Nordics and Bark River-Harris, a 3-2 winner over Carney-Nadeau on Wednesday, will clash at noon (Central time) Saturday at Harris for the district title.
"We started out really good," Nordics coach Sandy Haustein said after the 3-0 (25-13, 25-20, 25-18) decision. "They were throwing two blockers at us and then they switched their defense to one.
"We had a hard time there for awhile. They started blocking us."
North Dickinson built a 17-7 bulge in the first set and 13-3 in the second. Mid Peninsula held a 13-12 edge in the third set before Chelsey Stroud's serves sparked a seven-point run.
"The first two sets we were very flat," Wolverines coach Traci Lyle said. "The third set we warmed up a bit and started playing like I know they can play.
"They had one server who kept serving short and we couldn't get up there on time."
Kills from Miranda Jacobson, Marissa Jauquet and Gina Rotter closed out the first set. Rotter also added an ace serve.
In the second set, Mid Peninsula came back to 19-16 but a serving error squelched that rally. A Kimberly Cary kill and aces from Jacobson and Lexi Steele lifted the Nordics.
"The first two games they weren't getting their blocks to us," Haustein said. "We were able to hit it down at them.
"I thought our passing was really good. Our setter didn't have to run a whole heck of a lot to get the ball. Gina did a good job (with 22 assists)."
North Dickinson got so comfortable in the early going it started experimenting with fakes on spikes and other plays.
"When we got ahead we tried a few different things," said Haustein, noting the Nordics got back to business when the Wolverines rallied. "When you get a big lead you can try different things."
Krysta VanDamme's kill and ace brought Mid Pen to within 24-20 in the second set. The senior also came out strong in the third set, finishing with a team-high seven kills.
A Jacobson tip kill gave the Nordics a 24-16 lead in the third set. The sophomore has expanded her game, delivering slams and tip kills from the middle hitter slot. She finished with 16 kills and three aces serves on the night.
"Miranda played very well but she's been playing good volleyball all year," said Haustein, adding that Stroud's serving has been another strength.
Noted Lyle, "Miranda Jacobson is a real good hitter and server."
Steele and Stroud each collected six kills. Stroud also chipped in five aces and Jauquet had four.
Mid Peninsula's Kelsie Nummilien registered 10 digs and Crystal Hadel had nine.
North Dickinson, looking for another strong start in the finals Saturday, swept Bark River-Harris in two Skyline Conference matches this season.
"We've got a good chance," Haustein said. "It depends on what team shows up.
"When you've got the momentum you can do anything in volleyball. If you don't have it you're in trouble."
Block - Miranda Jacobson 2, Lexi Steele 1.
Assists - Gina Rotter 22.
Kills - Jacobson 14, Steele 6, Chelsey Stroud 6.
Ace serves - Stroud 5, Marissa Jauquet 4, Jacobson 3, Rotter 3.
Blocks - Krysta VanDamme 3, Kelsey Shope 2.
Kills - VanDamme 7, Ellie Lancour 2, Megan Kayser 1, Shope 1, Kelsie Nummilien 1.
Ace serves - VanDamme 3, Nummilien 1, Shope 1 Marissa Westlund 1, Lancour 1.
Digs - Nummilien 10, Crystal Hadel 9, VanDamme 6, Kayser 2, Shope 2, Westlund 1.
Assists - Kayser 5, Nummilien 2, Shope 1, Hadel 1, Westlund 1, Lancour 1.