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The best in the M-PC

Emeralds clinch M-PC title for second year in a row

Justin St. Ours | Daily Press The Manistique volleyball team poses for a picture after winning at Gladstone Thursday to clinch the Mid-Peninsula Conference title for a second year in a row.

GLADSTONE — The Manistique volleyball team swept the Gladstone Braves 3-0 (25-10, 25-12, 25-17) here Thursday to clinch the Mid-Peninsula Conference title for the second year in a row.

“We won it last year and we won it in 2015, so this is our third conference title in school history,” Emeralds’ coach Amy Nixon said. “I just told them to play their game, and treat it like any other match. We didn’t want to overthink it, we didn’t want to take it lightly, and we just wanted to treat it like any other match.

“I’m just really proud of the girls for their season-long hard work, and this is the nice reward they get after it.”

The Emeralds (27-3-3) set the tone in the first set, taking an early lead and not giving it up. Manistique established a 13-6 lead after a short service run from Lenna Smith, and Emilee McDaniel finished the set with a six-point run.

“We were working on different lineups because we had Megan Crow and Ahna Larson out, so we had to adjust to that,” Braves’ coach Bill Lawrence said. “We put the best lineup on the floor that we could.”

In the second set, Manistique pulled ahead 10-2 on a five-point run from McDaniel, and then led 20-4 after an eight-point run from Smith. An Emeralds’ service error and back-to-back penalties breathed some life into the Braves, but a misplay gave possession back to Manistique with a 21-9 lead. Gladstone added two more points — thanks to an out-of-bounds ball and a kill by Chloe Grenier — before a kill from Smith finished the set 25-12.

“I really feel like our enthusiasm and our energy as a team was really good,” Nixon said. “I think our offense really kept Gladstone on (its) heels. That’s all attributed to our passers to get the ball to the setters and then the hitters.”

The Braves showed some life in the third. Gladstone led briefly in the beginning and stayed within one point of the Emeralds until a kill and short run from McDaniel broke the stalemate to put the Emeralds up 14-10.

Gladstone put together a few short runs of its own — including one from Mimo Bellea — but couldn’t stem the Emerald tide.

The Braves got the ball back trailing 23-14, but a service error and a kill from Manistique’s Jeanni Chartier ended the match.

“(During) the third set, the girls competed well,” Lawrence said. “They put their hearts into it, and I think that showed in their performance.”

Manistique, which also won the jayvee match 2-0, travels to Leland for a tournament Saturday. Gladstone visits Negaunee Tuesday.

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