IM pulls off volleyball sweep of Westwood

IRON MOUNTAIN – The Iron Mountain High School volleyball team rolled to a three-set sweep of visiting Westwood in a Mid-Peninsula Conference match played Tuesday.

“We’ve been working on being more competitive and trying to speed the game up a bit,” IM coach Jeanne Newberry said. “Westwood is a good serving team and I thought we played better in the back row. They communicated a little better. It’s hard to keep them in sync.”

The Mountaineers rolled to 25-14, 25-9 and 25-20 wins in each set.

Paige Fortner led the Mountaineers with a team-high 11 assists. Taylor Talerico had a team-high nine digs.

“I thought we came out pretty flat. We didn’t come out with any intensity,” Westwood coach Heather Salmi said. “In the third game we finally started playing a lot better and kept the game close, but let them back in the game. We’ve been doing that all year. We just lose momentum. We play as though we’re getting beat by 20 points even if it’s a tie game. We don’t swing.”

For Westwood, Elizabeth Farley and Aidan Reath led the offense with three kills each. Farley also had 11 digs and four service aces, while Reath added eight digs.

Teammate Sarah Rautio had seven digs and eight set assists, while Katie Wiljanen, Aliya Leach and Stephanie Conery each made two kills. Aliya Leach and Conery also added an ace.

Aidan Reath had eight digs for Westwood.

The Patriots jumped out to a six-point lead in the third set, but Iron Mountain quickly quashed the rally and retook the lead.

“We came out and we played hard and we didn’t want to go home after three (sets) but a couple balls fell the wrong way and we go home,” Salmi said.

Salmi added that her team is young, with all 10 players being juniors, and is learning the game’s mental aspects.

“I think we’re now finally playing at the point where we’re contending, we just have to get that winning part,” she said.

Newberry said Iron Mountain came out lax in the third game when the Mountaineers should have come out with the same intensity that they had the first two sets.

“They need to keep that … competitiveness strong on their momentum side of the floor,” Newberry said. “They can’t give that up. This game can be won or lost in two minutes.”

Iron Mountain’s JV also pulled off a sweep, 25-9, 25-7, 15-13.

The Mountaineers host Negaunee on Thursday.