ISHPEMING - A young Negaunee High School girls volleyball team found a way to win Tuesday night.
Pushed by host Westwood High School, the Miners used a come-from-behind victory in Game 3 to eventually post a four-set triumph, 25-20, 23-25, 28-26, 25-20, over the Patriots.
"I'm happy with how everything worked out," NHS head coach Annette Gleason said after her team had won its opening match of the season. "(But) we were up and down. We have a lot of work to do on our serves."
Westwood’s Miranda Roose, right, passes the ball away from Negaunee blocker Jayda Johnson during the first game at Westwood High School on Tuesday. (Journal photo by Matt Keiser)
Senior Ashley Veale led the Miners with eight kills, an ace and two blocks. Sophomore Aubrey Nyman added seven kills, senior Haley Blake chipped in five kills and seven aces, and junior Jayda Johnson contributed eight assists.
"It was a good way to start, even though we're young and it's a rebuilding year," Gleason said. "The girls were able to stay low and focus."
The Patriots got five kills, three aces and two blocks from senior Sara Delongchamp, four kills from senior Sydney Turino, and five aces and seven assists from senior Alexandra Sandin.
"We have the potential to beat (Negaunee)," WHS head coach Janine Chapman said. "We have a different team with a lot of heart and effort."
The two teams went back and forth the first game, with the Miners going on a 5-2 run at the end to post the five-point win.
"Our serving killed us," Chapman said. "Some of the best servers I have were going too far back and not getting their serves in."
The Patriots rebounded in the second game, taking a 7-0 lead with junior Alexis Nelson serving.
"We had a good run with Nelson at the beginning of the game," Chapman said.
WHS stretched the margin to 11-1 before NHS rallied to eventually close the gap to 24-22 with the help of kills by Blake, Johnson and Nyman.
An ace by Blake made it 24-23, but the Patriots scored the next point to take the game.
"We struggled with our serve receive and lost our composure," Gleason said.
The Patriots held a 20-16 lead late in Game 3 behind two aces by Delongchamp and twice served for game point.
But the Miners came back behind late kills by Veale and junior Rosalie Anderson with the game-winner to stun the Patriots.
"It was our (poor) serving again," Chapman said. "It hurt us, though the girls still had a positive outlook (going into the fourth game)."
Negaunee held an 18-12 advantage in Game 4, but the Patriots closed the gap to 21-20 with the help of an ace by junior Elizabeth Dauphinais-VanBuren.
The Miners got late kills from Katie Lambert and Veale (for the game-winner), however, to take the match.
"Our hitting improved," Gleason said. "We missed too many serves in the first three games."
Despite the loss, Chapman was pleased with her team's effort.
"Our potential is unreal," she said.
The NHS junior varsity team won, 25-16, 25-15.
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251.