Volleyball: Kingsford rallies from 2 sets down to beat Esky
ESCANABA — Kingsford battled back from two sets down with a strong team finish to beat Escanaba in five sets 13-25, 23-25,25-22, 25-14, 15-8 Tuesday night in a steamy Escanaba High School gymnasium.
Both teams felt the warm conditions during the two-hour match between the Great Northern Conference rivals.
“It was definitely hot and humid in here,” said Kingsford coach Jaclynn Kreider. “I have to applaud our team and we take a lot of pride in our conditioning and we worked hard in the off-season conditioning this summer. We had a lot of energy as the match got longer. Give us a lot of props to be down two sets and to come back”
The Eskymos (2-1) jumped out to a 2-0 lead, easily combining their improving team defense and opportunistic scoring plays led by senior hitter Lexi Chaillier.
Esky coach Adam Lambert said there were a variety of reasons for the Kingsford comeback and also his team was not at full strength with a few of his squad members playing sick. Senior starter Katie Wilson did not play.
“A lot of the girls are not feeling well and some saw the doctor this week (respiratory) and they were coughing,” Lambert said. “Give Kingsford credit. They are a good team and they played scrappy and came back and beat us. We knew they were going to be tough and they have a big front line that gives teams troubles.”
Kingsford’s front hitters combined for 35 kills, led by junior Maggie Strehlow’s 11, including three in the final set, a dominating 15-8 win for the Flivvers (1-1 GNC).
Following an error-filled two sets to open the match, Kingsford settled in and committed less errors and became more consistent in its attacking.
“A focus of ours is to eliminate the errors,” Kreider said. “We want to keep hitting as that is the type of team we are. We want to stay aggressive and keep hitting but make sure we are under control.”
Senior hitter Abby Pickett had nine kills and five blocks up front with a balanced team effort engineering the Flivvers’ comeback.
Kingsford setters Katherine Eck (20 assists), Lexi Roberge (10 assists) and Brooke Kriegl’s 29 digs led the comeback effort for the winners.
Chaillier had a solid night to lead the Eskymos. She had 15 kills and 14 blocks in her new position up front for the 5-5 jumper up against the much taller Flivvers.
Paxton Johnson contributed eight kills and Madison Block six kills for the Eskymos.
Escanaba had an opportunity to win the match in three straight sets leading 2-0 and up 20-19 in the third, but could not close out the Flivvers.
Service errors by both teams knotted the score at 22-22 in the third and Kingsford won the set 25-22 on a service ace by senior Olivia Allen.
“The first two sets they (Kingsford) were hitting a lot of angles and they switched it up in the last three sets. Good coaching and they have a good team,” Lambert said.
Assists — Kaitlyn Lord 22, Tess Henderson 9
Service Aces — Jalin Olson 3, Kaitlyn Lord 2
Digs — Olson 44, Madison Block 16
Kills — Chaillier 15, Johnson 8, Block 6, Gabriella Stalboerger 4
Blocks — Chaillier 14
Assists — Eck 20, Roberge 10
Service Aces — Kriegl, Val Caylor, Pickett, Olivia Allen, two each
Digs — Kriegl 29, Allen 16, Caylor 14
Kills — Maggie Strehlow 11, Pickett 9. Tori Kowalkowski 7, Allen 6,
Blocks — Pickett 5, Kowalkowski 5