Win ugly: Kingsford netters scuffle but top Miners in 3 sets
KINGSFORD — Come tournament time, coaches and players adhere to the adage, “Win and advance.” Meaning an ugly win is quite acceptable.
But during the season, coaches especially, want to see improvement during each match, hoping for a continual build-up to the most important portion of the season, the tournament.
After her team’s herky-jerky 25-22, 25-17, 25-18 win over Negaunee Thursday at Kingsford High School, Flivvers coach Jaclynn Kreider tried to get that point across to her team with a first-set timeout though her squad was up 20-18.
“I just wanted to point out to the girls that we’re not getting better if we continue to play like (we were),” she said. “Ultimately, you’re looking at end-of-the-year goals and this game was a steppingstone to get your end-of-the-year goals.
“And I wanted to say, ‘Hey, right now we’re actually pulling ourselves in the wrong direction.’ And to remind them we’ve got to pick up the energy and somehow get back in control.”
The Flivvers (11-1) did that, sort of. Maddy Kreider and Alyssa Larson supplied a kill each to push Kingsford close to the opening-set win and Kailey Sundquist finished the deal with a quick-set kill from Maddy Kreider.
A look at the first set serving statistics served as a barometer for how the Flivvers were performing. During the opener, Kingsford fired five aces and committed seven service errors.
“I think we really struggled in the first part,” junior Jenna Viau said. “I feel like there wasn’t a lot of energy, but we kind of picked it up as we went.”
Viau had a lot to do with that. At 11-all in the second set, Viau went on a five-point serving run during which she belted three aces. Sundquist smacked a kill and recorded a block during that stretch to give the Flivvers a 16-11 lead.
Shortly after, Larson served an ace, Hayden Johnson and Viau recorded kills and Kreider fired an ace to give the Flivvers a two-set lead.
Viau did her serving thing in the final set as well, this time hitting four aces during a stretch that saw Kingsford build a 19-13 edge.
“I get back there, and I have a little routine that I do,” said Viau, explaining her approach to serving. “I take my time, Coach gives me the sign and I just place the ball.”
Viau finished with seven aces as well as six digs, five kills and an assist.
“Jenna’s just an all-around good volleyball player,” Coach Kreider said. “We keep her on the floor for six rotations because her back row (defense and passing) is phenomenal. Then you add her serve, which tonight was key in set one and set two. But then she can attack from the front row.
“Tonight, we needed the serving runs that we got from her because that was kind of the turning point in both of those sets.”
Another key contribution came from senior libero Bryonna Sanders, who topped the Flivvers in digs with 13 and lifted her team’s play with her usual dynamic energy throughout.
“She’s playing real well right now and her energy brings a lot to the team,” Coach Kreider said. “So, I really appreciate that spark that she provides in terms of picking the team up and also being real with the girls.
“She does a really good job of leading in that way and she’s been very valuable to the team.”
As she did in the second set, Maddy Kreider came off the bench after a brief respite to fire an ace to end the set and in this case the match in three sets.
Kreider led the Flivvers with 18 assists, while Larson added nine. Larson also chipped in with five aces, four digs and four kills. Sundquist finished with a team-high six kills, two aces and the team’s lone block, while Ellery Nash contributed five digs and two aces.
Junior outside hitter Ana Bortolini finished with three kills, two of which came during the third-set push to the finish, and Johnson added two kills.
Kingsford returns to the court Tuesday night in Iron Mountain for Pink-Out Night for breast cancer awareness.