Self-awareness pays: Manistique volleyball team concentrates on own game to beat Ishpeming Hematites, improve to 9-1-1
“Regardless of who we’re playing, we really want to focus on what we can do to better ourselves.” — Amy Nixon, head coach, Manistique volleyball
ISHPEMING — Manistique improved to 9-1-1 this season after topping Ishpeming in straight sets during a Mid-Peninsula Conference high school volleyball match at the Hematites’ gym on Monday night.
The Emeralds won 25-9, 25-16, 25-9 behind an eight-kill, four-ace performance from senior outside hitter Lenna Smith.
Smith was backed by junior middle blocker Kayla Muth, who finished with seven kills and two blocks, while senior setter Erin LaBar had six aces and 23 assists. Junior defensive specialist Delaney Zellar and fellow junior libero Madison Zellar led in digs with six apiece.
Manistique head coach Amy Nixon said the key to her team’s early-season success is focusing on its own side of the net, rather than what its opponent is doing.
“We’ve been working really hard this summer and in the preseason to really focus on what we do on our side of the net,” she said. “Regardless of who we’re playing, we really want to focus on what we can do to better ourselves.”
Nixon also couldn’t name any standout players, crediting a well balanced offense and defense in the victory.
“It’s hard to choose just one. We’re pretty strong in a few different areas. As far as hitters go, we probably have like four or five. We really spread the ball out evenly when it comes to our offense, and defensively too, it’s really a team effort.”
Ishpeming head coach Katt Beerling said her team ran into a challenging Emeralds squad while the Hematites search for answers with a small but talented nine-player roster.
“We lost to a tough Manistique team but showed moments of fight despite some unfortunate lineup challenges,” she said. “I’m looking forward to working hard in the gym the next two days, figuring out the best way to utilize the talent that we have and seeing Negaunee on Thursday.”
Manistique raced out to an 8-0 lead in the first set before the Hematites notched their first point on an attack error. Manistique tallied the next four after that, which included kills from junior outside hitter Brooke Richey and senior middle blocker Emilee McDaniel, and continued to roll to victory with set point coming on an Ishpeming attack error.
Ishpeming took its first lead of the night in Set 2, going up 5-4 before the Emearlds earned the next six points and prompting a Hematites timeout trailing 10-5.
Despite being down 20-9, Ishpeming fought all it could, earning seven of the final 12 points of the set. The Emeralds took set point on a service error to win the set.
Set 3 was a carbon copy of Set 1 at 25-9, with match point coming on a kill by Smith.
The Hematites were led by sophomore Olivia Corp with three kills, two aces, a block and three digs. Senior Emma Poirier added four kills and two digs while senior Tia Mattila had six assists, six digs and one block. Sophomore Madison McNab also added six digs.
Ishpeming visits Negaunee on Thursday while Manistique travels to Gwinn next Tuesday.
Email Ryan Spitza at email@example.com.