Kingsford too much for Iron Mountain


Sports Writer

IRON MOUNTAIN – Kingsford took advantage of Iron Mountain’s generosity Tuesday.

The Flivvers swept the Mountaineers for the second time this season, capitalizing on strong hitting and serving in the 3-0 (25-19, 25-18, 25-20) high school volleyball match.

“We can’t afford to give away points on serve receive because we’re going to give away points on strong hitting teams,” Iron Mountain Coach Jeanne Newberry said. “Quite a few times we’ve been up and giving away the lead on basic mistakes which is serve receive.”

Iron Mountain served at a meager 84 percent overall and serve receive was also below par at 31 of 53.

“That’s giving away a lot of points,” Newberry noted.

Kingsford and its array of boppers didn’t need the help. The Flivvers built big leads in the first two sets before the Mountaineers rallied late.

The third set saw Iron Mountain bolt ahead 7-0.

“Our girls played well,” Flivver coach Steve Andrews said. “Iron Mountain is not as strong as they’re going to be. They’re still building.

“It’s a still great rivalry and anything can happen in Iron Mountain-Kingsford.”

And it almost did with Kingsford pulling away from 15-13 to 23-15 in the first set. Iron Mountain closed to 23-19 until spikes from Emily Murdock and Lauren Smith decided the set.

It was more of the same in the second with Kingsford coasting to an 18-6 advantage. Kills from Marti Pirkola, Kristen Gendron and Desi Bottesi triggered an Iron Mountain comeback to 22-17.

The Flivvers squelched that rally with a kill from Sammi Lindeman and a block from Mariah Wiltzius. Sammie Zander and Smith also provided Flivver kills at crunch time.

“Kingsford just placed the ball well on the court and power hit it,” Newberry said. “They’ve got some strong swings.”

Mandy Haferkorn’s serving – who finished with 14 of 15, nine points and two aces – keyed Iron Mountain jumping out to a 7-0 lead in the third set.

“Mandy is a good first server for us,” Newberry said. “She is very consistent, even in practice she is consistent.”

Kingsford battled back to claim a 14-13 lead and pull away after a 17-17 tie. Wiltzius delivered back-to-back kills and Lindeman rifled home three “Todder-like” blasts in the Flivvers’ final five points.

“It’s easy when you’re up by eight or 10,” Andrews said. “But when you have to dig from six, seven down, it shows a little character.”

Andrews didn’t go to a timeout when the Flivvers started slowly. He just told his girls to “figure it out on the floor.”

“Down the road in district play they have to stay mentally tough and battle out there because you might not have a timeout,” he said. “They figured it out.”

Andrews considers communication, energy and attacking as the biggest areas of improvement from a month ago.

“Early on we had a ton of attacking errors, and now any hitter out there can put it down,” Andrews said. “Our attacking has got to be the most improved.

“Our passing was just OK tonight but we attacked the ball well on all fronts. And we dug some holes and we dug out.”

Mountaineers’ Pirkola posted six kills and three aces, and Alena Herman tallied nine assists.

Iron Mountain lost the first dual to Kingsford by a combined 32 points. The difference was 18 this time.

Newberry was also happy to see reserves with court time.

“These girls work hard and deserved to be on the floor,” Newberry said. “They showed I can put them in their position and they played strong.”

Both teams return to conference play Thursday, with Kingsford hosting Great Northern foe Gladstone and Iron Mountain traveling to Mid-Peninsula rival Norway to meet the Knights and North Dickinson.

Kingsford’s junior varsity, missing just one serve in three sets, defeated Iron Mountain for the first time this year, 25-21, 23-25, 25-19.

Flivver coach Jerry Roberge, who saw his team season record improve to 60-9, cited Ali Gering for kills (14) and defense; Alex Smith, Ainsley Alfaro and Savannah Martin for setting, and Mariah Clement, Kailee Drake and Sierra Fortner for serving.