Braves cop ‘The Rock’

Dennis Grall | Daily Press Ahna Larson of Gladstone returns a shot to Rapid River during Saturday’s The Rock Invitational at Gladstone. Gladstone won the championship.

GLADSTONE — It was an historic day for the Gladstone volleyball team as it won the “Rock” Invitational for the first time Saturday.

The Braves rallied past Gwinn for the title, overcoming an 8-4 deficit to win the third set 15-12.

“I would say it’s indescribable,” said Braves’ coach Bill Lawrence. “This is really different. We haven’t found anybody who remembers Gladstone ever winning its own tournament. None of these girls have ever been that far into a tournament. It was very emotional. I was glad to be there to see them celebrate that kind of success. I’m honored to be part of it.”

Gladstone reached the title match with a 2-0 victory over Norway. Gwinn topped Houghton 2-1 in the other semifinal.

In pool play, the Braves beat Ishpeming (25-16, 25-17), Kingsford (26-24, 25-22) and Rapid River (25-22, 25-17) and split with Gwinn (24-26, 25-14).

“Gwinn is a tough team,” said Lawrence. “They played great all day and Rapid River played well against us. We served well. We had some girls serve for more than 90 percent. The girls left it all on the floor.”

Gladstone’s Chloe Grenier was among those selected to the all-tournament team.

“Chloe had a phenomenal day,” said Lawrence. “Megan Crow is a great front row player and Aubreanna Servant had a nice serving run in the last set against Gwinn (in the title match).

Escanaba finished 4-4 and Rapid River was 1-7 in their pool.

Rapid River hosts Stephenson tonight. Esky travels to Negaunee and Gladstone visits Ishpeming Tuesday.