POWERS - The Mid Peninsula Wolverines had a little trouble finishing on the volleyball court Monday evening, but they'll gladly take the victory and a share of the Central U.P conference lead.
The Wolverines clipped North Central 3-1 (25-21, 25-18, 25-27, 25-23), but the Jets of coach Andy DeBock certainly didn't make it easy with Mid Pen eventually overcoming both themselves and the Jets.
With the victory, Mid Pen remains tied for the CUP lead with Superior Central, which beat Big Bay de Noc Monday evening. The two teams meet Thursday night at Eben.
Keith Shelton | Daily Press
Paige Whitens of North Central attempts to tip the ball past Mid Peninsula’s Kelsey Shope (3) and Krysta VanDamme (24) Monday at North Central. The Wolverines won in four sets.
The Wolverines appeared primed to run away with this match. After earning a sloppy first set victory in which there were serving and hitting errors abound on both sides, Mid Peninsula got on a roll to start the second set. WIth the score tied at 2-2, Krysta VanDamme came up to serve and didn't relinquish the ball for 14 straight points. She had four aces during the long service run and North Central called two time outs during the streak in an attempt to slow the Wolverines, who could suddenly do no wrong, down.
When the run finally ended, the Wolverines held a 16-2 advantage, but the Jets weren't about to let that go.
Kennedy Faccio came up to serve for North Central and the Jets reeled off five straight points, eventually getting as close as 19-14 before succumbing.
Mid Peninsula: Kelsie Nummilien (1 ace 2 kills, 25 digs); Kelsey Shope (1 kill, 2 blocks, 1 assist, 7 digs); Hunter Branstrom (6 kills); Jordan Carlson (3 digs); Marissa Westlund (2 aces, 1 kill, 4 digs); Megan Kayser (2 aces, 11 assists, 11 digs); Elle Lancour (1 ace, 4 kills, 2 digs); Krysta VanDamme (7 aces, 6 kills, 3 blocks, 16 digs).
"THis team needs to have a lead because they're young," said DeBock. "When they're down they get in a hole. They showed they can come back, but they have to finish."
The Jets started off the third set with a 4-0 run led by Natily Betters. Mid Pen stayed close throughout the match and eventually tied it up at 24-24 prompting a Jets time out. North Central came back out and took three of the next four points to put the set away and prolong the game.
The Wolverines again had a little trouble putting the Jets away in the fourth set. Despite holding leads of 17-11 and 23-12, the Jets made sure they would go down fighting.
Paige Whitens unleashed a 10-0 run, racking up four aces in the process to bring the Jets within 23-22. But the set would end on an errant serve by the Jets.
Wolverines coach Traci Lyle said her girls were missing a killer instinct tonight.
"We had a little communications breakdown and problems with passing," she said. "Sometimes we have trouble finishing and play not to lose instead of playing to win."
The Jets received good balance, as five players scored aces in the first set, but DeBock said he's still looking for leadership from his young team.
"It's a young team, I have a couple seniors, but I'm asking these young girls to be leaders," he said. "It all came down tonight, to attitude and wanting to win. We came up short and it's because of a lack of leadership.
"We expected to come out scoring after getting a win over Big Bay de Noc last week. Mid Pen got the first couple points and we got frustrated. We have to overcome that."
North Central (1-6), which won the jayvee match 2-0 (25-20, 26-24) heads to Carney-Nadeau tonight for a triangular match with Bark River-Harris. Mid Peninsula (7-3, 7-1 Central U.P., 4-3 Skyline) goes to Superior Central (4-2, 4-1 CUP) Thursday for a CUP conference showdown.