Prep volleyball: Anderson leads Negaunee in regular-season finale

NORWAY – Rosalie Anderson collected a match-best 13 kills to help the Negaunee volleyball team fight off Norway, 25-21, 16-25, 25-16, 25-22, in the regular-season and Mid-Peninsula Conference finales for both teams on Thursday.

“We had done really well against Gladstone the other night but lost,” Negaunee coach Annette Gleason said. “I told the girls we need to step up our game with districts (tournament) coming up, and I think they did that.”

Anderson’s stat line also included nine digs, four aces and a block. She was most effective from the outside when firing cross court and stretching Norway’s defense.

The Knights, led by Leah Mattson’s eight kills, had chances in the match but couldn’t overcome unforced errors.

“Our passing was way off tonight,” Norway coach Kayla DeBakker said. “Our serving and our passing was terrible.”

Negaunee led 17-8 in the first set before several Jacey Bal aces and another by Mattson cut it to 21-20. But the Miners held down the stretch, thanks to kills by BreAnna Leanes and Katie Lambert.

The Knights improved their blocking while Negaunee looked sloppy as Norway evened the match in the second set.

The worst of Norway’s passing came to light in the third set, as Negaunee jumped out to a 14-4 lead thanks to seven unforced errors.

The final set proved the tightest, with Norway coming from behind to take a 21-18 lead. But Negaunee’s Jayda Johnson had a kill and the Knights committed two errors to get the Miners to within 22-21.

That’s when Anderson took over. First she tied the match with a slam to an open spot in the middle, then was followed by Aubrey Nyman and Katie Lambert teaming up to knock back a Norway attack before Anderson fired two more kills to end it.

Johnson had seven kills, nine digs, 13 assists and four aces. Teammate Emilee Lokken had four kills and a block, Hannah Laurila six digs and nine assists and Adena Anderson 16 digs.

The Miners finished second in the M-PC with a 9-3 mark and get Ishpeming on Monday in the early 6 p.m. match of the Class C district it is hosting. Gwinn and Westwood follow at 7:30 p.m., with those winners playing for the district championship at 7 p.m. Thursday.

“If we can play to our potential, we should do well,” Gleason said. “But we have to realize other teams are going to rise to the occasion too.”

The Norway JV team won 2-1.