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Redettes roll past Esky to capture GNC

Austin Hemmingson | Daily Press Escanaba’s Bailey Barron (1) hits the ball over the net to Marquette’s Maiya King (10) and Maria Millado (6) during Tuesday’s match at Escanaba. Looking on for the Eskymos is Anna Smith (14).

ESCANABA — With a chance at an outright Great Northern Conference title on the line, the Marquette Redettes didn’t waste it. Marquette came out aggressive and focused from the start, rolling to a 3-0 (25-14, 25-16, 25-15) volleyball sweep over Escanaba here Tuesday night to wrap up the GNC title and spoil the Eskymos’ Senior Night.

Powered my sophomore middle hitter Seiler Hruska — who finished with 18 kills and 17 digs — the Redettes (39-4-3, 8-0 GNC) controlled the match from the jump.

“It feels great (to win the GNC),” first-year Redettes’ coach Ann Crandell-Williams said. “It’s my first year in Marquette and I inherited this phenomenal, athletic, hard-working group of girls that were led by these really passionate seniors. What else could I ask for, right? This is one of their goals — they wanted to win the conference. Next week will sort of be the other half of our goals, going into districts. We would like to experience some success there, too.”

The opening set was tied 9-9 before the Redettes started to pull away. An ace by Hruska made it 16-11, and shortly after Maria Millado went on a four-point service run to increase their lead to 21-12.

“Having a hitter like Seiler makes it a lot easier to win games, but then we have these other middles,” Crandell-Williams said. “We passed great tonight, we have been serving to score, we’ve been serving strategically and we’ve been float serving, so we’ve been working on all aspects of our game. We knew Seiler would be strong coming in, so it was really about developing a strong team, because one player can’t win games.”

Esky (6-2 GNC) briefly had some life in the second set after back-to-back kills by middle hitter Nicole Kamin put the Eskymos up 4-1. The Redettes rallied to tie the score at 9, and a four-point run by Celinda Brunswick put them up 12-9. Hruska, Millado and Tellena Nystrom all served for short runs for the remainder of the set.

“Marquette’s a really good team,” Esky coach Adam Lambert said. “They always seem to bring it. We played them two weekends ago in Gladstone (in the GNC tournament) and we beat them in a set, and we stayed with them. So for nothing less tonight, I assumed we were going to stay with them.

“We struggled. Senior Night — it really gets to the girls’ hearts and emotions. So maybe it was the moment, but we certainly errored more than we have in a game since August. We were counting the errors in a timeout and they had 13 points and we had four. We had 11 errors, so we gave them 11 points in that set alone. We struggled fundamentally tonight to just keep our heads in the game.”

As Lambert referred to, the Redettes jumped out to a 13-4 lead in the third set before Esky called timeout. The Eskymos pulled within 19-14 after a three-point run by Grace Charles, but Millado responded with a four-point run and the match finished on an Esky service error.

“They had some plans and they executed,” Lambert said. “I talked to their coach between the second and third set, and at that point she felt free to tell me what they’ve been working on, and it makes sense. They watched tape, they saw us accurately and they worked on it. We did some things in practice as well. We spent a couple hours just changing our strategy on offense to combat what we’ve seen from Marquette. They executed and we did not.”

The Redettes are off until they begin district play Nov. 6 at Petoskey against the winner of Gaylord and Petoskey. Esky finishes its regular season Thursday night at home against Manistique. The match will start at 6 p.m. due to Halloween.

“We’re resilient, and we’ll bounce back,” Lambert said. “We’ve got a game against Manistique Thursday, but it’ll be fun. It’s Halloween. Fans are dressing up, my players might even dress up, I might even wear a costume — I have no idea. It’s a non-conference game, it’s the last regular season game and we’re going to have a lot of fun with it. I just want to remind these girls that this is supposed to be a fun thing to do. They get down on themselves, and when they do that, they take themselves out of the game. I have a talented team — they’re really good. I can’t complain as far as the season goes, but tonight’s performance was a little lacking compared to what we’re used to.”

Marquette won the jayvee match 2-0 and Esky won the freshmen match 2-0.

Marquette

Hruska (18 kills, 17 digs, one ace); Millado (14 digs, four kills, three aces, two blocks); King (26 assists, six digs, four kills, one block); Michelin (10 digs, five kills, three blocks); Nystrom (nine digs, one ace); Brunswick (seven digs, three aces); Gooch (three digs, two kills); Ragusett (three digs, one kill).

Escanaba

Olson (27 digs); Henderson (six kills, four assists, two digs); Kamin (five kills, one ace); Barron (three digs, one kill, one assists, one ace); Cooper (three assists, two kills); Smith (two kills, two digs); Block (five assists); Ray (four kills); Stalboerger (four kills); Wilson (four digs); Lancour (three digs); Charles (two digs).

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