Prep volleyball: Negaunee thumps Iron Mountain for home M-PC victory

NEGAUNEE – Going back to the basics rarely hurts a team.

The Negaunee High School girls volleyball team proved that Thursday night in a four-set, 25-19, 17-25, 25-19, 28-18, Mid-Peninsula Conference victory over visiting Iron Mountain.

“We had struggled the last couple of matches and went back to fundamentals in practice,” Miners’ coach Annette Gleason said after her squad moved to 5-5 overall and 5-2 in the M-PC.

“The girls played really well together. They had good communication and were able to spread the ball out to a variety of attackers.”

Senior setter Jayda Johnson led NHS with four kills, three aces, 13 assists and nine digs. Senior outside hitter Rosalie Anderson added 12 kills and four aces; and junior outside hitter Katelyn Johnson contributed four kills and two blocks.

In addition, junior middle blocker Aubrey Nyman recorded five kills, while Negaunee junior middle blocker Adena Anderson came up with nine digs.

For IM, Marti Pirkola recorded six kills, an ace and two blocks; Kristen Gendron turned in four kills and three aces; Bri Geyser came up with three aces and nine assists; and Susie Hagan chipped in 16 digs.

The Miners pulled away from a 17-17 tie in the first game to win going away.

“We were serving aggressively and to our benefit,” Gleason said.

The Mountaineers (3-6, 2-4 M-PC) came back, however, to lead the entire second game. Gendron and Alena Herman recorded a pair of aces apiece, while Pirkola added two kills.

“We played well (that game),” IM coach Jeanne Newberry said. “We communicated and our serves were good.

“After we pulled that game out, I expected the match to go five games.”

The Miners had other ideas, however, taking a lead they never relinquished and gaining set point on an ace by Jayda Johnson. Rosalie Anderson posted three kills and an ace, while Aubrey Nyman added a pair of kills.

The Mountaineers jumped off to a 10-3 lead in the fourth game before Negaunee went on a 12-2 run to grab a 15-14 advantage.

Liesl Flannery and Jayda Johnson each posted two aces, while Rosalie Anderson added three kills during the Miners’ surge.

“I called a timeout (when trailing 6-1) and told the girls they needed to maintain their composure,” Gleason said. “We then improved our serve receive and digging.”

The Mountaineers, who got an ace and a kill from Gendron in the final game, were never able to recover once the Miners took the lead.

“There’s no reason we can’t finish with a seven-point lead,” Newberry said. “But give credit to Negaunee. They’re well balanced and their digging was good.

“On several of our rotations, our height wasn’t available and Negaunee went over one of my shorter players.”

Iron Mountain won the junior varsity match in two sets 25-5, 25-12.