Lady Trojans overcome Nordics’ Skyline threat
By BURT ANGELI
CRYSTAL FALLS – Forest Park turned back another serious challenge to its Skyline Conference volleyball domination Tuesday at Eddie Chambers Gym.
Forest Park, with 22 kills from Lexi Gussert and 27 assists from Maria Stankewicz, downed North Dickinson 3-0 (26-24, 25-16, 25-23).
“We pulled this one out,” said Lady Trojans coach Kim Bjork.
North Dickinson, with a 24-23 edge, served to win the first set but a miscue along two kills from Lexi Gussert and another from Michaela Steiro lifted Forest Park. A nifty tip kill from Gussert clinched the set.
Forest Park ran out to an 11-2 cushion in the second game. The Trojans trailed 15-10 in the deciding third set and rallied behind net play from Gussert and Kendra Campbell.
“I didn’t think we controlled the ball very well tonight compared to our first three matches of the season,” Coach Sandy Haustein said after the Nordics’ league opener. “They controlled the ball better than we did and they deserved to win.”
Neither coach was happy with serving.
“We had a lot of service errors that really hurt us in the first and third sets but we managed to squeak out wins,” Bjork said.
North Dickinson’s serving was down, finishing in the low 80s with the team average better than 90 percent.
“You can’t miss serves against a good team like Forest Park,” Haustein said.
The first-set thriller saw North Dickinson erase a 20-17 gap. Back-to-back kills from Chelsey Stroud gave the Nordics a 22-21 lead.
Gussert, who will sign a basketball letter of intent on Nov. 13 to play for Michigan State University, produced a tying spike. Errors produced the next two points before Gussert and Steiro delivered.
Gussert stuffed a couple two-hand kills in the second set and Stankewicz’s serving also stood out.
“Our movement on the floor as a team was much better and we had some girls step up at crucial moments,” Bjork said. “Our second set we controlled and our servers were consistent.”
In the third set, three straight Gussert kills and another from Steiro knotted the score at 18. Gussert and North Dickinson’s Miranda Jacobson then traded spikes.
With a 22-22 deadlock, Gussert sandwiched a pair of kills around a Campbell ace to sink North Dickinson.
“I’m definitely happy with the improvements we are making,” said Bjork, whose Trojans (10-1-4 overall, 4-0 Skyline) host North Central on Thursday.
North Dickinson visits Carney-Nadeau on Thursday.
“We’ll go back and work on our serve receive, correct our mistakes and come out and play better Thursday night,” Haustein said.
North Dickinson won the jayvee match in three games, taking the final set 18-16.
Forest Park varsity summary follows:
Hannah Marinoff – 3 digs; Maria Stankewicz – 3 kills, 3 aces, 27 assists, 2 digs; Michaela Steiro – 4 kills, 1 dig; Kendra Campbell – 3 kills, 2 aces, 2 digs, 1 block; Libby Shamion – 2 kills, 1 ace, 2 digs; Kelsie Hendrickson – 1 ace, 1 dig; Susie Toivonen – 1 kill; Lexi Gussert – 22 kills, 2 aces, 5 digs, 6 blocks.