NEGAUNEE - The wait was worth it for the Ishpeming Hematites.
Not having won a dual match in nearly a month, the IHS volleyball team swept Westwood and Negaunee at the Miners' Lakeview Memorial Gym to capture the annual WIN trophy on Tuesday evening.
In the process, Ishpeming picked up two Mid-Peninsula Conference victories to improve to 5-5 in league play.
"There were times when my girls got tired and were quiet, but mostly, they really wanted this win, since they hadn't won in awhile," Hematites coach Amy Rautiola said.
She attributed part of the fatigue in the Negaunee match to playing back to back.
"It was a huge night for our middle hitters," Rautiola said. "It didn't necessarily show up in the statistics, but it did show in their attack attempts."
Their main middle hitters are senior Brittany Doney and sophomore Jessica Spencer.
"They were up at the net and playing aggressively, getting a lot of touches and affecting the way (Ishpeming's opponents) hit."
Ishpeming opened with a 25-12, 25-20, 25-21 win over Westwood as Spencer made four kills, had four service aces and joined Doney as each registered two blocks.
Senior teammate Alesha O'Brien led the offense with 10 kills while adding 11 digs and two blocks, and senior Caitlin Korvela also had 11 digs and senior Emily Casey five kills.
"Our girls came out with intensity right off the bat, then Westwood fought back and got some good blocks," Rautiola said. "We had to up our play."
In the Hematites' 25-23, 21-25, 25-9, 25-23 win over Negaunee, O'Brien again had a team-high 10 kills to go with three aces, 10 digs and two blocks. Freshman Sinead Korvela added eight kills, Doney seven and Spencer six, while Caitlin Korvela had four aces and 30 digs.
Ishpeming built a big lead in the final game before Negaunee mounted a comeback that fell just short, NHS coach Annette Gleason reported.
Negaunee sophomore Aubrey Nyman had eight kills, 10 digs, three aces and a block, while senior Ashley Veale made 22 digs and two blocks. Junior teammate Katie Lambert had six kills, junior Rosalie Anderson 14 digs and senior Haley Blake 13 digs.
In the other match, Negaunee (3-8 M-PC) needed five games to prevail over the Patriots, 24-26, 25-18, 15-25, 25-13, 15-8.
"There were a lot of rallies, too, in those points," Gleason said. "Westwood has shown a lot of improvement this season."