RAPID RIVER - The Rapid River Rockets hosted one of the first triangular matches of the season Tuesday. It turned out to be a very interesting night of volleyball.
The first match of the night featured the Mid Peninsula Wolverines against Big Bay de Noc. In the first two sets, Mid Pen dispatched the Black Bears with relative ease, winning 25-8, 25-13.
In the third set, Big Bay had a bit more fight in them, and kept the game within striking distance. After the set was tied 16-16, Mid Pen bought their game up a notch and completed the sweep, 25-19.
Jenny Lancour | Daily Press
Mid Peninsula’s Hunter Branstrom (10) tips the ball past Rapid River’s JoEllen Roberts during their first set Tuesday. Rapid River edged out Mid Pen in that set, 25-21.
Unfortunately for the Black Bears, they had to head straight into the next game against Rapid River. They managed to give the Rockets some difficulty in the first set, but ultimately came up short, 25-20. This set featured six ties, two lead changes, and Rapid River's Neena Brockway had four straight aces.
After the first set, the fatigue of playing back-to-back matches began to show itself, and Big Bay dropped the next two sets 25-14, 25-16, giving up the sweep to Rapid River.
With each team coming off of a win, the final game of the night had all the makings of a heated battle, and it did not disappoint.
MID PEN - Kelsie Nummilien (8 aces, 5 kills, 6 digs); Kelsey Shope (1 ace, 1 kill, 1 block, 3 digs); Crystal Hadel (2 aces, 1 kill, 10 digs); Hunter Branstrom (1 block, 1 dig); Marissa Westlund (3 aces, 2 kills, 2 digs); Megan Kayser (3 aces, 2 kills, 10 digs); Elle Lancour (10 aces, 2 digs); Krysta VanDamme (8 aces, 7 kills, 2 blocks, 4 digs).
RAPID RIVER - Rikki Stropich (8 kills); Mia Hill (1 ace); Averi Kanyuh (12 kills); Hannah Micheau (1 kill, 18 digs); Neena Brockway (20 kills, 11 aces); Savannah Stenlund (14 aces).
"It was a barn burner," said Rapid River coach Lisa Kanyuh.
The first set was highly contested, but Rapid River came away it, 25-21. the following set was just as close, with Mid Pen winning 25-23. However, Rapid River exacted revenge in the third set, 25-17.
Things got even more interesting in the fourth set, with both teams refusing to give in. Mid Pen finally put an end to a grueling set, 29-27, sending the game into a fifth set.
With the Wolverines leading 15-14 in the sudden death match, Rapid River's Mia Hill pulled off an ace, tying the game. However, Mid Pen would not be denied, and they scored two uncontested points, winning the game 3-2.
Mid Pen improves to 6-0 in the conference, and 4-1 in the Skyline. Wolverines coach Traci Lyle is very happy with the way her team has been performing.
"We just played really well," she said. "Again, they were moving, and talking to each other. They played solid, they played like a team."
Rapid River played very well, but their coach still sees room for improvement.
"I think we did good," Kanyuh said. "We never lacked the intensity. The only problem is, we made errors when we couldn't afford to give up any more points.
"We kind of beat ourselves in the long run. They fought the fight, we just didn't come out on top."
A couple of her players had exceptional performances, but the leader was Savannah Stenlund. In one match against Big Bay, Stenlund served up 20 straight points, nine of which were aces. Then during the third set against Mid Pen, she served 11 straight points, including five aces.
The Black Bears Jayvee team had a much better evening, beating Rapid River 26-24, 25-21 and Mid Pen 25-20, 25-16. Rapid River beat Mid Pen 25-21, 25-17.