MARQUETTE - Gwinn finally broke a back-and-forth night on the volleyball court by taking the final two sets and winning a five-set match over Ishpeming on Tuesday evening.
The Modeltowners clinched second place in the Mid-Peninsula Conference with a 16-25, 25-16, 19-25, 25-20, 15-7 home win to improve to 8-3 in league.
"Each team would get on a run, so it was back and forth all night," Gwinn coach Stephanie Bahrman said. "But our girls stayed focused in the fifth set. They seemed to be shaking a little bit, so I told them to take a deep breath and just relax."
Marquette’s Lindsey Couture (18) tips the ball over the net as Escanaba’s Alliyah Edwards (16) tries to block during the first set at Marquette Senior High School on Tuesday. (Journal photo by Matt Keiser)
Ishpeming (5-7 M-PC) hadn't played in a five-setter all season.
"Overall, this was a much better match than the first time we faced them," Hematites coach Amy Rautiola said. "Both teams had great intensity in the first four or five points of the fifth set, then their server peeled off a few points and I think it just hurt our confidence.
"But I'm glad we got a chance to play in a match like this before the district (tournament) begins."
The teams are in separate MHSAA Class C districts, though both open play Tuesday. The Modeltowners host Manistique at 7 p.m. and Ishpeming faces L'Anse at 6 p.m. in Negaunee. Gwinn also has a regular-season match left at Westwood at 6 p.m. Thursday.
On Tuesday, Gwinn junior Bella Wedig and senior Morgan Bruce led all players with 11 kills apiece.
"Their right-side hitter, Wedig, still hurt us with her hitting and her serving even though we defended her better than the first time we played them," Rautiola said.
Bruce also had 10 service aces and three blocks, while senior Kaylee Sanderson made 26 assists and 10 digs, senior Daabii Reinhardt had 13 digs and junior Chelsea Moton five blocks.
Ishpeming sophomore Jessica Spencer had seven kills and three blocks, senior Alesha O'Brien nine kills and an ace, junior Mollie Pruett 12 assists and four aces and senior Caitlin Korvela 11 digs and an ace.
Gwinn won the JV match, 25-18, 25-18.
At Marquette, the Redettes finished in second place in the Great Northern Conference at 8-2 with a 25-15, 25-13, 21-25, 25-18 win.
Senior Emily Boyle made 13 kills and six aces to lead MSHS, which opens Class A district play in Gaylord against Traverse City Central at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
Junior teammate Tayler Smith added seven kills, senior Angela Brown 15 digs, senior Liana Storm 10 digs and junior Courtney McGovern 16 assists.
Marquette's JV and freshman teams each won 2-1, though scores weren't available.
Negaunee 3, L'Anse 0
At L'Anse, the Miners had a tough battle despite sweeping, winning 25-22, 25-23, 27-25, to improve to 5-12 overall.
"We had some big leads, then (L'Anse) would come back against us," Negaunee coach Annette Gleason said. "I was hoping it would come to this point in the season - our girls were making decisions on their own and strategizing well."
Leading the Miners were seniors Ashley Veale with 12 kills and eight digs and Haley Blake with 11 kills and nine digs. Sophomore Aubrey Nyman added seven kills and a block and junior Jayda Johnson eight digs and 21 assists.
Negaunee, which closes the regular season at home against Norway at 6 p.m. on Thursday, has its first match in the Class C district it's hosting against Westwood at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The Purple Hornets won the JV match, 25-17, 25-16.
North Central 1
At Munising, the Mustangs finished a 6-8 Central Upper Peninsula Conference campaign with a 25-23, 15-25, 25-19, 25-18 win.
"The girls were really focused and ready to go, and the big crowd was into it with this being our last home match," MHS coach Myra Lloyd said.
Senior Katie Immel led Munising with nine kills, 17 digs and four aces, while junior Ciera Bradley added five kills, four aces and two blocks, and freshman Darby Coyne had 22 digs.
The Mustangs open Class D district play at Superior Central with a match against Big Bay de Noc at 6 p.m. Monday.
North Central won the JV match, 16-25, 25-20, 15-9.
Iron Mountain 3,
At Ishpeming, Westwood coach Janine Chapman was encouraged with improved play against the M-PC champion Mountaineers, who prevailed 25-20, 25-14, 25-20.
"We played well, like a well-oiled machine," she said. "We had good passes and good coverage.
"Iron Mountain is just so good at reading other teams and what they want to do."
Senior Sydney Turino led the Patriots (1-10 M-PC) with five kills and three blocks. Junior teammate Alexis Nelson had four kills and three digs, sophomore Laura Schulte three kills and two blocks, junior Miranda Roose three kills and four digs, and Elizabeth VanBuren 10 digs and 12 serve receives.
IM prevailed in the JV match, 25-9, 25-23.