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Esky’s Kamin too powerful for Negaunee to overcome

NegauneeÕs Allison Ennett serves to Escanaba during their high school volleyball match on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019, at Escanaba. (Escanaba Daily Press photo by Austin Hemmingson)

ESCANABA — Every time the Negaunee Miners tried to hit the ball away from Nicole Kamin, it still ended up back in her sights.

The Miners volleyball team was competitive, but in the end Kamin was too much to overcome as Escanaba took a three-set sweep, 25-16, 25-20, 25-20, here Tuesday.

Kamin, Esky’s 5-foot-11 junior middle hitter, finished with 17 kills and three digs in this nonconference contest.

“We got to use our entire team tonight. It was a great showing,” Esky coach Adam Lambert said. “Kamin came out and had 17 kills, but it’s so fun to watch that. The girls were setting her up right where she likes it, and she has a specific spot she wants it set.

“Our setters were setting it right there, and it’s like she looks around and says, ‘Where do I want to put it tonight?’ She just finds an open hole and it hits the floor.”

The Miners (3-3) were aggressive and resilent, particularly in the second and third sets. The second set was tied 13-13 before the Eskymos pulled away, while in the third set, the Miners rallied from a 17-9 deficit to pull within 23-20 before falling.

“(We were) just trying to be aggressive and not backing down,” Negaunee coach Sarah MacDonald said. “I told my blockers tonight if you’re not sweating, if you’re not dying out there, you’re not doing your job.

“We were just trying to be aggressive defensively and offensively, keeping that aggression throughout the game.”

The Eskymos (5-0) dominated the first set, building a lead of 21-9. They got contributions from everyone, including junior Anna Smith, who finished with seven kills, five digs and two aces.

“Anna Smith came out tonight and did really, really well,” Lambert said. “She’s normally my middle hitter, but today I put her on the left. She found her spots and she did really well. She found soft corners and hard angles.”

Lambert also complimented the Miners’ competitiveness.

“I never want a blowout. They didn’t give us that, they didn’t give up,” he said. “We’ve had some teams give up on us and they just lose it mentally.

“Negaunee stuck with it and they’re really coached well because that’s tough to do, to keep girls encouraged and go hard like that.”

Tess Henderson chipped in with 11 assists, four kills, two aces and two digs for Esky, which also won the JV and freshman matches in two sets apiece. Maddy Block added eight assists, three kills and three digs, while Bailey Barron had seven digs, three aces and two kills.

Chloe Norman led the Miners with eight kills, seven digs and two assists. Abbie Tollefson added seven kills and three blocks, while Alexa Gravedoni had seven digs and three kills. Larissa Anderson chipped in with six digs and two aces and Madison Downey had six kills.

On Thursday, the Miners host Houghton while Escanaba visits Manistique.

“Manistique is playing very well,” Lambert said. “They’re going to be a tough one for us, so we’ll have to bring our ‘A’ game. That’s for sure.”