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Emeralds win Munising Invitational

MUNISING — The Manistique Emeralds reaped the benefits of off-season work here Saturday, topping the Brimley Bays 25-21, 25-16 for the Munising Invitational volleyball title.

“We had been working real hard this summer,” said Emeralds’ coach Amy Nixon.

“We were playing competition better than us to make us better and I think it’s paying off.”

The Emeralds defeated the host Mustangs (25-16, 25-11) in a semifinal match and Brimley outlasted Mid Peninsula (28-26, 18-25, 15-9) in the other semifinal.

Manistique was clinging to a 21-20 lead in the second set of the championship match before a passing error by the Bays gave the Emeralds a two-point lead. The Emeralds then scored the next two points for a 24-19 cushion.

Brimley trimmed its deficit to 24-21 on service and passing errors before Manistique secured the decision on a Bays’ hitting error.

“We knew Manistique was going to be tough,” said Brimley coach Beth Hill.

“We have a young team. We tried different combinations of rotations and rotated two setters (freshman Lindsey Hill and junior Paige Johnson). We’re very pleased with the way we played against them for being so young.”

Brimley was within 15-10 in the first set before a sideout and a pair of aces by senior Lenna Smith gave Manistique an insurmountable 18-10 advantage.

Erin LaBar collected 15 aces and 68 assists for the Emeralds, who return to Munising for a triangular meet Tuesday. Senior Emilee McDaniel recorded 31 kills. Smith added 20 kills and 18 digs. Kayla Muth finished with six blocks and Madison Zellar had 13 digs.

“We have some girls with power,” said Nixon. “I think playing the competition we did during the summer helped them out.”

Manistique topped Gwinn (25-19, 25-20), split with Mid Pen (23-25, 25-21) and beat Superior Central (25-9, 25-12) and Newberry (25-16, 25-14) in pool play.

Mid Pen senior Kennedy Englund collected 18 kills, four blocks and six aces. Camryn Croasdell served for 12 aces. Ellie Paulson served for five aces and recorded 40 digs and junior Daisy Englund had 32 assists.

“We lacked communication a little and had a few too many service errors,” said Mid Pen coach Emily Kayser. “Other than that, this is a great start to the season. Our spilt with Manistique was a good confidence builder for our seniors this year. That got the girls pumped up. We have a lot of experience. We didn’t lose anybody from last year. There was good competition here today.”

In pool play, Mid Pen also split with Gwinn (25-23, 21-25) and swept Superior Central (25-21, 25-17) and Newberry (25-21, 25-23).

Beside falling to Manistique and Mid Pen, Superior Central beat Newberry (25-21, 25-23) and bowed to Gwinn (25-20, 25-20).

Mid Pen visits Big Bay de Noc Tuesday. The Cougars are idle until Sept. 3 when they host Stephenson.

Manistique — LaBar (five aces, 68 assists); McDaniel (31 kills); Smith (20 kills, 18 digs), Muth (six blocks); Zellar (13 digs).

Mid Peninsula — Croasdell (12 aces, five kills); K. Englund (six aces, 18 kills, four blocks); Paulson (five aces, 40 digs); Lancour (two aces, seven kills); D. Englund (two aces, one kill, 32 assists); Prater (two aces, one kill); C. Koski (five kills, two blocks).

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