Mountaineers head to districts with win
By BURT ANGELI
IRON MOUNTAIN – Iron Mountain, gaining some momentum for next week’s district tournament, held off Westwood 3-1 (25-10, 25-18, 11-25, 25-22) in Mid-Peninsula Conference volleyball Tuesday.
Coach Jeanne Newberry’s Mountaineers (7-5) closed out the regular season with their fourth win in the past five matches. The only setback came to MPC champion Gwinn.
“All in all, I’m thrilled to end the season with a win,” Newberry said. “We’re looking forward to districts.”
Iron Mountain and Norway will meet on Tuesday, Nov. 5, in Iron River. Host West Iron County and Ironwood will clash in the other district semifinal.
Iron Mountain dominated the first two sets. Kristen Gendron served up 12 straight points to end the opener.
The second set saw more strong Mountaineer serving from Alena Herman and Bri Geyser.
“Our serving was on,” Newberry noted.
Westwood got untracked in the third set, rolling to a 14-point win despite losing Samantha Beauchamp to a dislocated shoulder.
The Patriots owned an 18-10 lead in the fourth set but the Mountaineers rallied for the win. Westwood Coach Janine Chapman cited the loss of Beauchamp in the third set.
“She had such a great game,” Chapman said of the injured junior, who was helped off with the Patriots in front 17-6. “She was, honestly, the momentm of the team tonight. Losing her was really, really tough.”
Beauchamp’s absence meant a major lineup change.
“We had to switch our postions like I never thought possible,” Chapman said. “We had girls playing where they had never played before.
“We had it and could have won that last game. Unfortunately, we got stuck on serve receive and couldn’t get out of it.”
Mya Maanika took over the net in the fourth set while Christine Larson, Elizabeth Dauphinais-VanBuren and Alexis Nelson also made strong contributions to put Westwood in front.
A Geyser block at 20-13 triggered the Mountaineer charge. Consecutive kills from Alena Herman and aces from Geyser evened the match at 21.
Alexis Nelson gave Westwood a 22-21 advantage. Iron Mountain produced the next four – one from Herman and three straight from Marti Pirkola.
“When we were playing communication ball, we were there,” Newberry said. “When we weren’t, we lost a set.
“Westwood’s determination was where they put their libero (VanBuren).
Westwood’s Maanika tallied seven kills; Larson, six assists and four aces; Beauchamp, two blocks; VanBuren-Dauphinais, 11 serve receives, and Nelson, 17 digs.
Mountaineers’ Pirkola garnered 11 kills, two blocks and 100 percent serving; Susie Hagan, seven digs; Geyer, one block, four aces and eight serving points; Herman, four aces, eight points, four kills and six digs, and Cassie Feira, five kills.
Iron Mountain honored seniors Mandy Haferkorn (100 percent serving, four points, one ace) and Kristen Gendron (11 points, 4 aces) prior to the match.
“Once again our seniors played a very consistent match,” Newberry said. “They have all year.”
Westwood (0-11) winds up the regular season tonight at Gwinn.
Iron Mountain’s once-beaten junior varsity, coached by Lori Cevigney, defeated Westwood to clinch the title.