GNC tourney champs

Esky sweeps foes, shares league crown

Courtesy photo The Escanaba volleyball team captured Saturday’s Great Northern Conference volleyball tournament title and shared the overall league championship with Sault Ste. Marie. Team members front row from left are: Jalin Olsen, Haillie McDonough, Katie Wilson, Peyton Gustafson, Kaitlyn Lord, Dacota Lambert and Gabi Stalboerger. Back row from left are: Lexi Chaillier, Taleise Lawrence, Kaleia Lawrence, Savanna Barron, Coach Adam Lambert, Paxton Johnson and Paige Wendt.

MARQUETTE — The Escanaba volleyball team hasn’t had bragging rights in the Great Northern Conference since 2003.

But that all changed Saturday after the Eskymos swept their four league foes to capture the GNC Tournament championship at Marquette High School. The tourney title and season conference game wins resulted in Esky and Sault Ste. Marie being GNC co-champions.

Sault handed the Eskymos one of their two defeats during the regular season.

“If you could have been in the gym just to feel the excitement it would have been something you wouldn’t forget for years to come,” Esky coach Adam Lambert said of his team’s tourney title. “I’m glad in volleyball the coach doesn’t get a cooler of ice water dumped on his head, because I’m sure the girls would have done that based on the level of excitement they had.”

Esky defeated Marquette in its first match 2-1 (24-26, 25-23, 15-13). The win was costly as the Eskymos lost Dacota Lambert with a knee injury in the third set and she didn’t play the rest of the day.

“We’re not sure what the extent of the injury is until we see the doctor next week,” Adam Lambert said. “But when the athletic trainer says she shouldn’t play for risking further injury, we sat her and iced the knee to reduce the swelling.”

Escanaba got revenge on the Sault and defeated the Blue Devils 2-1 (26-24, 21-25, 15-9) in its second match.

“The Soo is a very good team, well coached and disciplined,” Adam Lambert said. “They had beaten everyone in our conference this year including us so we knew we had to bring our best.”

Esky rode the emotions of the win against the Blue Devils and finished off Menominee 2-0 (25-10, 25-16) and Kingsford 2-0 (25-17, 25-16) to secure the tournament title.

Leading the Eskymos were Lexi Chaillier with 12 kills, Kaleia Lawrence with eight aces and 12 kills, Savannah Barron with 14 kills, Payton Gustafson with 27 digs and Talelise Lawrence with 14 aces and 14 kills.

Esky will host Kingsford Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Tourney summary

Escanaba — Lexi Chaillier (12 kills), Dacota Lambert (5 kills), Katie Wilson (5 aces, 1 kill), Payton Gustafson (1 ace, 27 digs), Kaleia Lawrence (8 aces, 12 kills, 30 assists, 6 digs), Gabi Stalboerger (7 kills), Paxton Johnson (2 aces, 2 kills), Savannah Barron (1 ace, 14 kills), Hailie McDonough (1 ace, 8 kills), Kaitlyn Lord (2 kills, 17 assists), Talelise Lawrence (14 aces, 14 kills) Paige Wendt (1 ace, 12 kills).


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