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Marquette Redettes pull off big volleyball comeback to win at Escanaba in 5 sets

Marquette’s Roxy Nelson, right, blocks a spike by Escanaba’s Mari Bink on Thursday at the Eskymos’ gym. (Escanaba Daily Press photo by Justin St. Ours)

ESCANABA — It’s one thing to win a five-set high school volleyball match, but yet another to come back from a two-set deficit as the Marquette Redettes defeated Escanaba in a Great Northern Conference match Thursday at the Eskymos’ gym.

Marquette prevailed 21-25, 24-26, 25-7, 25-19, 15-2.

“What a win!” MSHS head coach Ann Crandell-Williams said. “It was a really slow start and we just weren’t covering the court well or playing our game initially. Once our players got into a groove, they controlled the match pretty well from there.

“Our aggressive serving kept them out of system just enough, and once out defense started getting balls up and to target, we were able to pull off a strong offense. I’m proud of them for continuing to push through and not letting up.”

After getting back into the match with a suffocating victory in the third set, the Redettes pulled way ahead early in the fourth set on an eight-point run from Maria Millado to make it 13-3.

“I think our challenge all year has been the mental game, and when you’re playing a tough opponent, I think the natural tendency is to play it safe,” Crandell-Williams said. “Like we don’t want to make mistakes, but you can’t win a big game by being scared to lose. You win a big game by putting your foot on the gas pedal and leaving it there.

“They were tight and trying not to make mistakes. That just wasn’t working for us. We switched some things up and found a groove.”

Marquette kept its distinct advantage in the fourth set until two short runs from Esky cut its deficit to 16-10. The teams traded points, but it wasn’t until a Redettes’ ball landed in the net that the Eskymos found their footing.

Capitalizing, Esky’s Bailey Barron helmed a six-point run — including two aces — to tie it at 18.

The Eskymos momentum faltered on a series of calls, and a spike from Millado won possession back for Marquette.

Millado then went a short run, and Seiler Hruska finished the set with back-to-back spikes.

Escanaba faltered further in the final set, earning two early kills from Grace Charles and Nicole Kamin, but the Redettes dominated after with an 11-point run from Taylor Marquardt to seal the set and the match.

“That (third) set really wore us down mentally,” Esky coach Adam Lambert said. “(Keeping them motivated is) my job as a coach. I’m here to root them on and encourage these girls to keep going. The wheels fell off a little bit, and they get safe. Our offense is not safe.

“We missed out on some big hits in the last three sets. We started playing soft and started looking for corners, hoping we could loosen them up a little bit.”

In the first set, the Eskymos recovered from a 12-7 deficit. After Esky evened it up, the teams traded points until a short run from Barron put the home team ahead 22-18.

Millado and Roxy Nelson helped reduce the Redettes’ deficit, but two Marquette mistakes ended the set in favor of the Eskymos.

Escanaba fought back from a deficit in the second set as well, and it wasn’t until Esky’s Katelyn Stahlboerger found a rhythm that the Eskymos pulled ahead. Stahlboerger earned three points in a 5-2 run to put the Eskymos ahead 22-18.

Esky mistakes gave Marquette the opportunity to tie it at 23 with a spike from Marquardt. A kill from Anna Smith then tied the set at 25, and back-to-back kills from Kamin earned the set for the Eskymos.

“I’ll take a game like that rather than (an easy) win anytime,” Lambert said. “The first two sets, we came out really well, and I think Marquette took us for granted. We came out, and we showed them what we had. After that second set, I said to them: ‘You may think they’re going to come out with their heads down, but that’s not Marquette. They’re going to come out firing.'”

Hruska led the Marquette offense with 25 kills while adding eight digs and three service aces. Millado had an all-around big night, making 18 kills, 12 blocks, seven digs and a pair of aces, while Nelson had four blcoks, four aces and three digs.

Teammate Katelyn Dunleavy had 40 assists and five digs; while Celinda Brunswick made eight digs and two assists; Marquardt two aces, two kills and two digs; Taylor Ragusett four blocks and two kills; Ashlee Blom two digs; and Ella Jezewski one block.

The two teams face off again in Marquette on Tuesday.

“We’re going to talk about it (Friday),” Lambert said. “We’re going to talk about what to do different because the wheels can’t fall off. We’re going to their house.”

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