Braves fall to Maroons
GLADSTONE — What appeared would be a promising second set slipped away from the Gladstone Braves here Thursday night in a 3-0 (25-18, 25-23, 25-11) volleyball loss to the Menominee Maroons.
The Braves led 20-16 following a passing miscue by the Maroons, then reduced their lead to three points on a service error.
Menominee closed within 20-19 on a Braves’ hitting error before a net violation gave the Braves a two-point cushion.
Gladstone still led 23-21 before a kill by junior middle hitter Piper Monroe shaved Menominee’s deficit to a point.
The Maroons went ahead 24-23 on a service ace by senior Rylee Wickstrom, then sealed that set on another kill by Monroe.
“Our energy and communication were lacking,” said Braves coach Averi Kanyuh. “We made too many fundamental mistakes, and they capitalized, which gave them a lot of momentum going into the third set. We pulled up some girls from the JVs because we needed more numbers for varsity. We’re trying to get them used to the rotation and gain confidence in themselves.”
Menominee (1-1 overall) led through the third and libero Lani Holmes basically sealed it with four straight aces during a five-point run on her 17th birthday.
“That was a great ending for Lani,” said Menominee coach Sarah Betzinger. “I didn’t know it was her birthday until they announced it. That was awesome. She did a nice job.”
The victory enabled the Maroons to bounce back from Tuesday’s 3-0 (25-5, 25-12, 25-21) loss at Bark River-Harris.
“This is the first time we swept Gladstone in three in a long time,” said Betzinger. “The girls played very well tonight. We tried to forget about the first two sets and play like we did in the third set Tuesday night. This is huge. This is the boost we needed early on, although we still have a lot of work to do. We had very few shanked balls tonight. We passed the ball around better, and everybody got a chance to swing (at the ball).”
An eight-point run, including an ace by Wickstrom, gave the Maroons a 15-8 advantage in the opener.
Gladstone was still trailing 16-10 following a defensive miscue before a Menominee service error brought them within five points.
The Braves, behind a five-point service run by senior Alissa Sanville, rallied to tie the score at 16.
It was tied again at 18 before a kill by senior Laura Magrane put the Maroons ahead to stay.
“The girls are learning a faster-paced game,” said Kanyuh. “Our setters did a good job going to different positions, and I think they did a good job reading their defense. The girls showed some fight. It can only go up from here.”
Monroe collected five kills. Senior Jaelyn Van Beek had 15 assists, and Kayla Drifka added 12 for the Maroons, who won the JV match in three sets and freshman match in two.
They host Marquette Tuesday. The Braves travel to Kingsford Thursday.
Menominee — L. Magrane (three aces, one kill); Drifka (two aces, one kill, 12 assists); Monroe (one ace, five kills); Van Beek (two kills, 15 assists).