NORWAY - Junior Amy Richardson provided clutch serving for the West Iron County Wykons Tuesday night, helping them outlast the Stephenson Eagles 3-2 (13-25, 25-19, 25-16, 11-25, 15-12) in a Class C regional volleyball opener.
Richardson hit the final two points, including a match-clinching ace, moments after the Wykons used a sideout to snap a 12-12 deadlock in the fifth set.
The victory enables West Iron to return to the Norway High School gym to face pre-tourney favorite Calumet in Thursday's title match at 6 p.m.
Burt Angeli/The Daily News Photo
West Iron County’s Cassilyn Pellizzer (6) drills a shot at Stephenson’s Chelsea Turcotte (15) during Tuesday’s regional at Norway.
Calumet advanced with a 3-0 (25-11, 25-15, 25-13) triumph over Ishpeming in Tuesday's nightcap.
This marked the second straight five-set triumph for the Wykons, who rallied from a two-set deficit to stun Ironwood in last Thursday's district final.
West Iron built a 10-2 advantage in Tuesday's finale. But the Eagles then got a sideout and rallied to tie that set at 10 behind a seven-point service run by senior middle hitter Chelsea Turcotte.
"I thought we had them a couple times," said Stephenson coach Craig Hartges. "But we have to give West Iron credit. They did what they had to do. We had our chances. It just wasn't meant to be for us."
Stephenson cruised through the opener and led 13-9 in the second set.
Richardson then recorded a kill for a sideout, igniting an 8-1 run for the Wykons.
Junior Abbie Grubbs provided a pair of kills and senior Emilie Christensen added another during that run as West Iron surged to a 17-14 lead.
Stephenson closed within 17-16 on a kill by junior Bret Demille. West Iron, however, didn't allow the Eagles to regain the upper hand.
Junior Megan Eagloski then provided the Wykons with a six-point service run and sophomore Sierra Rasmussion's kill finished that set.
Hitting and serving errors, which hurt the Eagles in the second set, continued into the third and resurfaced early in the fifth.
"It seems like the girls started letting the little mistakes build up, which is something that had been bugging us all year," said Hartges. "We've had a hard time getting rid of those."
Back-to-back aces by Richardson gave West Iron a 2-0 lead in Game 4 before the Eagles got a sideout.
But the Wykons then committed three consecutive serving errors during a six-point service run by junior Lexi Johnson, enabling the Eagles to gain an insurmountable 7-2 advantage.
In the later match, senior Kristy Lasanen collected 13 kills and sophomore Ellen Twardzik added 11 kills and a block to pace Calumet.
Senior setter Kayleen Anderson provided the Copper Kings with 34 assists. Terra Erkkila had 20 digs and Lasanen added 13.
Ishpeming senior Alesha O'Brien and sophomore Jessica Spencer had five kills apiece and senior libero Caitlin Korvela had nine digs.