Flivvers earn Rock after marathon finals victory
GLADSTONE — A 38-36 marathon set ended with the Kingsford Flivvers victorious over the Houghton Gremlins Saturday afternoon at The Rock Invitational hosted at the Gladstone High School.
Kingsford won the finals in two sets, 25-18 and 38-36.
“Oh my gosh, it just feels great,” said Jaclynn Kreider. “I’ve never coached a set where it’s gone that long. To see the girls just keep battling — and on both sides — people were still swinging hard; we were still serving hard from both sides. I just compliment both teams on being able to keep it competitive and to almost go a game and a half if not more than that.”
The Flivvers and Gremlins ended pool play as the top two teams at 10-2 and 11-1, respectively.
While the first set — that ended 25-18 — of the finals did feature some excitement, it paled in comparison to the nailbiter that was the 38-36 Rock deciding set.
Kingsford controlled much of the match, leading up until the Gremlins took the lead at 25.
From there, the teams traded scores until things were tied at 36.
A point was then awarded to the Flivvers on a service line violation committed by Houghton’s Olivia Merriman.
Kingsford’s Allie Lavarnaway sealed the win on the ensuing serve with an ace.
Kreider attributed the win to the Flivver’s ability to work well as one unit instead of one specific player.
“A lot of people will say … ‘who are your standouts?’ and that’s not us this year,” she said. “We’re a small team. Everybody notices that right away when they see us. We don’t have a lot of height, but we play together. Everybody has their opportunities to step it up, and everybody does take their opportunities to step it up.
“That’s what’s great about this team. We all have each other’s back, and we can go to anybody at any time, so it’s awesome.”
Madelynn Kreider led Kingsford in total aces for the tournament with 17, Abby Terrian led in blocks with seven, Talia Wallis in kills with 17 and Emma Andrews in digs with 13.
For the Houghton Gremlins, there was nothing left to give, said coach Blaire Zenner.
“We gave it our all, today,” said Zenner. “We fought hard all day long. The only loss we had during pool play was a set to Kingsford, so we knew that it was going to be a tough fight. I thought our girls held in there.”
After emerging from pool play into the final pairing, it took a little bit for the Gremlins to find their footing added Zenner.
“Our first set, we came out maybe a little timid,” she said. “But, we were able to get out of that funk for the second set. Unfortunately, we came up a little bit short.
“We have a strong team, and I’m very proud of all their accomplishments and what they can do on the floor. … Sometimes, I think we may get in our heads a little bit. But, we were able to get out of there and fight back.”
Before the final pool play sets started, Gladstone Athletic Director Dale Hongisto and Gladstone coach Averi Kanyuh awarded nine players — Stella Wickstrom (Houghton), Olivia Merriman (Houghton), Jordana Hardy (Gwinn), Emma Andrews (Kingsford), Madelynn Kreider (Kingsford), Samantha Kedsch (Carney-Nadeau), Kricia Jenkins (Houghton), Hannah Deloughary (Ishpeming) and Olivia Corp (Ishpeming) — a spot on the All-Tournament team.
Kanyuh noted that the All-Tournament team included a few more names than normal.
“They did (the All-Tournament team) a couple years in the past, so this year, I thought this year we could have a couple more people named to the team since we’ve got less teams, unfortunately,” she said. “Hopefully, we can build on that for next year and get more teams to come back.”
For the Braves — who ended pool play 2-10 — Kanyuh was happy with how the team worked throughout the day.
“I think things could have gone a little bit better,” she said. “But I was happy that we were able to progress throughout the day with each match.”
Kanyuh noted Alissa Sanville’s performance both serving and running the offense as well as a 17-point service run by Jadyn Bovin against the Ishpeming Hematites.
For Carney-Nadeau Wolves coach Steve Kedsch, ending pool play 6-6 with a few players out came as a bit of a surprise.
“Overall, I thought we did really well today,” Kedsch said. “We were missing a couple players. We brought up a freshman from the JV team. If you told me at the beginning of the day that we’d gone 6-6, I’d have thought you were kind of crazy.
“The girls did a good job getting together and communicating. It seemed we got better as the day went on. We also had eight players on the team today so I didn’t have a lot of substitution for rest and then we kind of wore down a little bit at the end of the day. But I’m very proud of the girls how they dug down and played as well as they could.”