Forest Park rallies past Eagles in 5-set district thriller
Nordics sweep Mid Pen in Division 4 semifinal
STEPHENSON — From the first dual match of the season when they stormed back from two sets down to defeat Carney-Nadeau, the Forest Park Lady Trojans have showed the mettle to battle from behind and pull out remarkable victories.
The Lady Trojans continued living on the edge Wednesday night, but their never-say-die competitiveness saved them again as coach Bobbie Jo Anderson’s crew stepped back from the abyss again and defeated host Stephenson 23-25, 25-16, 22-25, 25-15, 15-8 in a Division 4 District 99 semifinal match.
With the win, the Trojans advance to the final, where they will host that same Carney-Nadeau team they shocked to begin their campaign. The Wolves defeated Hannahville 3-0 on Wednesday to keep alive their bid for their sixth consecutive district championship.
“It was a hard-fought match tonight,” Anderson said. “Both teams played great scrappy defense. (Assistant) coach Lindsey (Anderson) and I are proud of our young girls for keeping their composure and fighting until the very end.”
Sophomore outside hitter Ema Stepien had the game of her young career, finishing with 13 kills and six digs. Freshman outside hitter Audrey Franz came up big as well with eight kills, six digs and a block. Sophomore setter Charlie Larson dished out a team-best 18 assists and contributed four digs.
The three Forest Park seniors were heavy contributors. Setter Rayven Jacobson filled the stat sheet with 14 digs, 13 assists, 10 kills and two aces. Gracie Peterson, a middle hitter, showed her defensive prowess with 18 digs to go with eight kills. Defensive specialist Maddie Divine aided the Forest Park defense with 15 digs.
“Our seniors have carried us all year and tonight their leadership was evident,” Bobbie Jo Anderson said.
With the victory, the Lady Trojans get the opportunity they’ve wished for, a chance to knock out perennial power Carney-Nadeau. Forest Park upended the Wolves 5-25, 15-25, 25-22, 25-16, 15-8 on Aug. 26.
The district final starts tonight at 6 in the Eddie Chambers Gymnasium. The winner will advance to a Regional 25 semifinal match at North Dickinson on Tuesday.
NORTH DICKINSON 3
MID PENINSULA 0
COOKS — North Dickinson advanced to the MHSAA Division 4 District 100 volleyball finals with a 3-0 victory over Mid Peninsula on Wednesday, posting 25-20, 25-18 and 25-20 wins.
“Mid Pen is a tough team that’s won the two previous districts,” said Nordics coach Taylor Johnson. “I’m glad we were able to compete so well.”
Vanessa Lindholm’s strong defensive play set the tone in the first set, with Kassandra Cary and Chrislyn Inglese pacing the offense.
In the second set, the Nordics trailed early but rallied behind the net play of Micah Lindholm — her “best all year,” Johnson said. An Ashton Hord kill sealed the win.
“We kept the momentum from there,” Johnson said, adding good support from the bench played a role.
Strong serving by Isabella Reimer, along with the net presence of Ashton Hord and Aiden Hord and the leadership of libero Sophie Mattson, keyed the final set.
Mid Pen eighth-grader Claire VanDamme played an excellent game and will be force for the Wolverines in the years to come, Johnson added.
The Nordics will face Superior Central for the district title at 6 p.m. Eastern time Friday at Big Bay de Noc School.