ESCANABA - The Rapid River jayvee volleyball team held its own this season, finishing 7-7 in the Central U.P. and 4-8 in the Skyline Conference.
"This season was a success," said coach Bre Gendron. "Many players improved tremendously. Shannon Gould and Brittany McNally (both freshmen) became much stronger middle hitters and Haley Hardwick grew as a defensive player."
Rapid River's setters had plenty of help directing the offense from sophomores Valerie Viau and Kendra LaMarque and freshmen Ericka Schwartz and Dominique Pavlat.
"Valerie and Ericka were critical in creating sideouts when we needed them," said Gendron. "Dominique and Kendra hit the weak side effectively and handled the setting duties well when the setters couldn't. And (sophomore outside hitters) Aslynn Brockway and Kendyl Miller did a great job putting the ball down."
Key servers were Miller, Schwartz and freshman Haley Brockway.
"All of them created several service runs throughout the season," said Gendron. "Rachel LaCosse and Heather Holzencamp (both sophomores) became more aggressive as middle hitters as the season progressed and will be great additions to varsity next year. Also, our libero (freshman) Lydia Froberg got to balls most girls wouldn't. She ran the defense very well.
"They were a very nice group of girls and truly a pleasure to coach. It is amazing, especially at the freshman level, how quickly they improve. I also appreciate the efforts of coach Mike Mohler. He helped this season go off without a hitch."
Mid Peninsula, which finished the season with just seven players, ended 2-12 in the CUP and 1-11 in the Skyline.
The Wolverines opened by winning at Carney-Nadeau and topping Munising at home.
"We had a couple real good servers who kind or helped us in our first two matches," said coach Traci Lyle. "But our best match was against Forest Park (in a loss) at home. The girls played together as a team and moved well on the floor that night. That was little bit of a morale boost. Everything seemed to click for us except the outcome."
Lyle was also pleased with the effort in Mid Pen's three-set losses to Superior Central.
"We won the first set both times," she said. "We had good moments. We just couldn't finish those out."
Sophomore setters Chrissy Hanson and Emily Gudwer directed Mid Pen's 6-2 offense, with 5-8 freshman middle hitter Cori Nummilien and sophomore Kaitlyn Klenow its leaders at the net.
"Cori did a nice job at the net," said Lyle. "She was very aggressive and a good server. She came a long way this year. Kaitlyn did a nice job tipping and was probably our top server."
Also helping the Wolverines this season were sophomore middle/outside hitter Joanie Rooks and all-around players Britney Reese and Chloe Cox.
"It took a little while for us to jell," said Lyle. "But the girls came together and had fun, and that's what it's all about. The kids had positive attitudes. It was a fun group to work with."