By RON DEUTER
NORWAY - Negaunee, with a match-best 13 kills from Rosalie Anderson, fought off Norway 25-21, 16-25, 25-16, 25-22 in Mid-Peninsula Conference volleyball here Thursday night in the regular-season finale for both squads.
Theresa Proudfit/The Daily News Photo
Norway’s Brenda Casanova fires over the block of Negaunee’s Emilee Lokken during Thursday’s Mid-Peninsula Conference volleyball match.
"We had done really well against Gladstone the other night but lost," Negaunee coach Annette Gleason said. " I told the girls we need to step up our game with districts coming up, and I think they did that tonight."
Anderson's stat line also included nine digs, four aces and one block. She was most effective from the outside when firing cross court and stretching Norway's defense.
The Knights, led by Leah Mattson's seven kills, had chances in the match but couldn't overcome their own unforced errors.
"Our passing was way off tonight, way off," Norway coach Kayla DeBakker said. "Our serving and our passing was terrible tonight."
Negaunee led 17-8 in the first set before a couple of aces by Jacey Bal gave the Knights some momentum. The score was 21-15 Miners when Paige Sheski and Brenda Casanova each connected a couple of times for points. An ace by Mattson cut it to a one-point deficit at 21-20, but that's as close as the Knights would get in the set.
BreAnna Leanes and Katie Lambert put down kills in between Norway errors to seal it for the Miners.
A sloppy second set by the Miners allowed Norway to take advantage and even the match. The Knights showed improved blocking in the set, with Casanova providing the most frustration to the Miners' attackers.
The worst of Norway's passing came to light in the third set, as Negaunee jumped out to a 14-4 lead thanks in part to seven unforced errors by the Knights. Hannah Anderson had all three of her aces in the set for the Knights and helped Norway make a little push, but the margin was too much to overcome.
The final set proved the tightest of the match. Norway erased a four-point deficit to grab a lead at 17-16 thanks to an ace by Anderson. An ace by Lindsey DeBernardi made it 21-18 Norway, but Negaunee fought back. A kill by Jayda Johnson followed by two Norway errors had the Miners down just one at 22-21.
Then Anderson took over for Negaunee. She tied the match with a slam to an open spot in the middle. Aubrey Nyman and Katie Lambert then teamed up to knock back a Norway attack before Anderson fired two more kills to end the match.
The Miners finished second in the MPC, with a 9-3 mark. They get Ishpeming in the first match of districts next week.
Casanova finished with three kills and eight blocks for the Knights. Lexi Negro and Brandi Strong each had two aces. Jacey Bal's stellar defense included 29 digs.
Norway JV won 2-1.
Jacey Bal - 2 aces, 29 digs; Brenda Casanova - 8 blocks, 5 digs, 3 kills; Lexi Negro - 2 aces, 2 blocks, 18 digs, 11 set assists; Hannah Anderson - 3 aces, 3 digs, 2 kills; Leah Mattson - 2 aces, 1 block, 3 digs, 7 kills; Paige Sheski - 5 digs, 2 kills; Brooke Teafoe - 1 block, 2 digs; Lindsey DeBernardi - 1 ace, 1 block, 11 digs; Brandi Strong - 2 aces, 3 digs.