Volleyball: Kingsford thwarts Nordics in 5th set

Kingsford’s Aby PIckett hits the ball as North Dickinson’s Skye Ledzian attempts a block on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018, in Kingsford, Mich. (Adam Niemi/Iron Mountain Daily News)

KINGSFORD — Three more points is all the Nordics needed for the win.

With North Dickinson holding a 22-21 lead in the fourth set, the Flivvers put on a rally.

Kingsford tied the fourth set and held off the Nordics by a couple points.

It was all the momentum the Flivvers needed, taking the decisive fifth set by a 15-10 margin for the 3-2 victory.

“Tonight was a battle. We didn’t play like ourselves. I want to give North Dickinson a lot of credit. They served really well which caused a lot of problems for us,” Kingsford head coach Jaclynn Kreider said. “I think we had more serve-receive errors tonight than we did all weekend in 15 sets on Saturday. I want to give credit to them, they played very scrappy on us. I do think our girls struggled with confidence. They were scared. I think we’ve gotta work on some of that to make sure we’re playing how we’re able to play instead of playing scared. We don’t need to be a team that’s playing scare.”

The Flivvers took the first set 25-22 before the Nordics stormed back to win the second and third sets 26-24 and 25-12, respectively. North Dickinson grabbed momentum in that second set and held it through the fourth set — until it was three points from the win and Kingsford made a last stand.

Kreider said some of her players have been battling the mental aspect of the game.

“We’ve got some girls that lack confidence and they shouldn’t. Girls that are really good at volleyball and who are good athletes that tend to get in their own heads,” Kreider said. “It was a trickle effect where they looked at each other and saw panic on one person’s face and then they were all. I take some blame for that too. I probably upset them, I probably scared as well because I knew we could play better. I was just telling the girls there’s a lot of value in a game like this to know that you can not play well and still be able to dig yourself out of a hole and beat a good volleyball team.”

For the Nordics, it was an opportunity lost.

“The girls came out to play. We had a few collapses when we made mental mistakes and couldn’t hit the ball in play,” North Dickinson head coach Sandy Haustein said. “I thought overall we did fairly well. There’s still some improvement we need to make. Otherwise they played good tonight.”

Both teams battled point for point in the first two sets before the Nordics grabbed momentum late in the second to hold out for the slim win. Then they rolled in the third set, out-scoring the Flivvers 7-2 in the final stretch.

Both teams tied nine times in the fourth set before Kingsford took a 24-23 lead and then the win.

The Nordics made their own last stand in the fifth set with a 9-9 game before Kingsford went on a run, out-scoring North Dickinson 6-1 for the win.

Haustein said her team has to become less predictable and more creative with its attack.

“One thing that we didn’t do tonight that we need to work on is ball movement,” she said. “We’re one dimensional with set middle and hitting outside. We didn’t do any back-setting and get the blockers moving.”