Volleyball: Kingsford wins Great Eight Classic tourney

Florence's Karmen Anderson pokes the ball at Norway in Saturday's Great Eight Classic. (Burt Angeli/The Daily News)

NORWAY — The Kingsford Flivvers picked it up a notch on the volleyball tournament ladder Saturday.

The Flivvers, runner-up to Iron Mountain in last week’s season-opening Kingsford Invite, came back Saturday to win the 11th annual Great Eight Classic.

“We were excited with how last week went,” said Flivvers coach Jaclynn Kreider. “We knew if we could just keep getting better that we would have a good opportunity to come in against some really good teams this weekend.”

The Flivvers struggled to begin the round-robin tournament among the area’s eight volleyball program. They split two-set matches with Norway and Iron Mountain before sweeping the rest of the opponents.

“We started out slow,” Kreider said. “We have to come out strong right away.

“Against Iron Mountain we wanted to come back and see how we could do. We worked hard this week and we were ready for this tournament.”

Kingsford and Florence completed the seven two-game match schedule with 12-2 marks. The Bobcats of coach Joan Canfield lost both times to the Flivvers.

They played a one-game tiebreaker to determine the champion and Kingsford emerged with an 18-11 win. Junior outside hitter Maggie Strehlow delivered two kills when the Flivvers posted a 6-2 run.

Florence got to within 16-11 after a pair of Bailey Apfel kills and a Sidnie Steber tip.

“Overall, we made really good choices in being disciplined and to put the ball where we ask them to put it,” Kreider said. “After we got through our first few sets where we struggled a little bit, our girls were making smart choices

knowing when to take some power off or finding the open spot.”

Off-season conditioning had the Flivvers ready for the sauna-like atmosphere in the Norway gym.

“Our team is in great shape,” Kreider said. “They worked hard this summer without the volleyball for their strength and conditioning. For these girls this is nothing to them especially what we do in practice. A lot of people think volleyball players don’t need to be in shape but when you’re in great shape you have long rallies. You get hot gyms like this that’s one thing that our team can handle.”

Iron Mountain wound up taking third with an 11-3 record after losing twice to Florence.

Defending champion North Dickinson was fourth, 5-9, followed by shorthanded Niagara, 4-10; West Iron County and Forest Park, both at 3-11; and Norway, 2-12.

“We had some ups and downs today but we definitely came together and played like a team the second half of the day,” said Niagara coach Carol St. Arnauld. “The first half of the day was plagued with communication and confidence issues that definitely hurt us. When we started setting up our front row, we really made a stance. Jasmine Racine and Cassie Gill did a nice job leading this team as well as many other girls.”

Racine tallied 15 aces, 20 kills, 22 assists and 23 digs in 14 games. Gill had 14 kills and nine blocks.

“Next week we will have our full roster back and I’m excited to see what this team can do,” said St. Arnauld. “I firmly believe that the more this team comes together, the stronger we will become.”

The Flivvers won a fifth Great Eight Classic title. They also triumphed in 2008, 2009, 2012 and 2016.

“We have some things to work on,” said Kreider, citing serving as one issue. “We’re asking them to do a lot with their serving but we’re missing serves and we can’t be missing serves.”