North Dickinson’s hot start continues
By RON DEUTER
FELCH -North Dickinson rebounded from a first-set setback, took advantage of an error-prone Kingsford squad and rode the express lane to a 3-1 (19-25, 25-19, 25-7, 25-9) non-conference volleyball victory Thursday night at Carl F. Lemin Gymnasium.
“Once we started getting in position where we needed to, we played better,” Nordics coach Sandy Haustein said. “And once we got the lead, we played more aggressive and there was no stopping us.”
Chelsey Stroud and Miranda Jacobson combined for 25 kills. With setter Gina Rotter at the controls, the hitting duo did a good job of reading Kingsford’s defense and alternating between power spikes and well-placed tips over the reach of Kingsford’s tall blockers.
“When we can get our pass up there, we can run a lot of different things,” Haustein said. “They did a good job of mixing it up back and forth.”
Stroud was especially effective with her tip game from the outside, and she also led the Nordics with five ace serves. Jacobson helped contain Kingsford strength in the middle, recording three blocks.
While the Nordics added only three more aces above Stroud’s five, the team committed just three service errors the entire match.
“We were very good serving again,” Haustein said. “Hardly missed any.”
Kingsford, after looking the part of the dominator in set one, started to let things get away late in set two. Tied 14-14, the Flivvers then committed eight unforced errors in handing the victory to the Nordics.
The self-destruction only continued from there.
With few flaws in the Nordics’ game as the match continued, Kingsford made another 14 errors in set three and 12 more in set four to quickly turn what looked like would be a nip-and-tuck battle into a quick Nordic victory.
“Our girls are not mentally strong enough to endure mistakes, and they just implode,” Flivvers coach Steve Andrews said. “It’s a domino effect, and they just feed off each other.
“They get frustrated and mad, and they have not figured out this is a team sport of errors. You’re going to make a lot, and its ok. But they can’t get over it.”
Andrews was quick to credit the Nordics play as well.
“The difference there is North Dickinson endured the lull,” he said. “They got beat the first game and they kept grinding and grinding. We just let it get the best of us.”
Maria Wiltzius led Kingsford with 11 kills. Emily Murdock and Lauren Smith each added six more, but the Flivvers totaled only three successful attacks in the final two sets of the match.
“Steve is a class act,” Haustein said. “He always helped me out when I first started. He’s a great guy. He’s got a young team.”
The loss was Kingsford’s first, outside of tournament play, giving the Flivvers a 4-1 record. Kingsford returns to Great Northern Conference play Tuesday, hosting Menominee. North Dickinson improved to 3-0 in match play.
“I’m so proud of these girls being 3-0,” Haustein said. “They were moving their feet, being aggressive, and they were talking tonight. If we keep doing that, good things will come. We got to believe in ourselves.”
The Nordics also get back to league action next week, traveling Tuesday for a Skyline Conference showdown at Crystal Falls.
Statistics follow (digs and assists not available):
Emily Murdock – 6 kills, 2 aces; Sammie Zander – 1 kill; Maria Wiltzius – 11 kills; Sammie Lindeman – 4 kills, 1 ace; Lillian Slajus – 2 kills; Lauren Smith – 6 kills, 2 blocks; Amber Larson – 1 kill.
Lexi Steele – 5 kills; Kimberly Cary – 4 kills, 1 block; Chelsey Stroud – 14 kills, 5 aces; Miranda Jacobson – 11 kills, 3 blocks; Gina Rotter – 2 kills, 1 ace.