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Gremlins rock on in Gladstone again

September 16, 2013
By John Vrancic - For the Gazette , The Daily Mining Gazette

GLADSTONE - Lengthy service runs proved helpful to the Houghton Gremlins Saturday as they earned their fourth consecutive volleyball title in The "Rock" Invitational.

Senior Ashlyn Kero provided the Gremlins with a pair of those in the championship match as the Gremlins topped the Gladstone Braves 25-13, 25-19.

She finished the finale with four straight points after the Gremlins got a sideout for a 21-19 lead.

Kero also hit a five-point service run earlier in the last set, helping Houghton gain an 11-6 advantage.

"Our lengthy service runs were the difference, and that run by Ashlyn got us going in the second set," said Houghton coach John Christianson. "When you can get five, six points at a time, you can get to 25 pretty fast. If you can hold your opponent to one or two points at a time, it takes a long time for them to get to 25. I'm pleased with how we played as a team. Our girls improved throughout the day and were playing at a higher level at the end of the day. Some of the things we did in practice came to be, which tells me the girls are taking practice seriously. This is a big boost for us."

Houghton finished the first set behind a seven-point run by junior Sydney Dillinger, whose block gave the Gremlins a sideout and an 18-13 cushion to set up that run.

It didn't Houghton long to gain the upper hand in the first set as it gained an 11-5 advantage on a kill by senior middle hitter Elisa Jurmu.

Jurmu recorded 11 kills and two blocks in the title match. Senior Kenna Farrey added two blocks and 10 assists. Kero hit four aces. Dillinger collected 11 digs and senior Jada Riutta had seven.

GLADSTONE - Lengthy service runs proved helpful to the Houghton Gremlins Saturday as they earned their fourth consecutive volleyball title in The "Rock" Invitational.

Senior Ashlyn Kero provided the Gremlins with a pair of those in the championship match as the Gremlins topped the Gladstone Braves 25-13, 25-19.

She finished the finale with four straight points after the Gremlins got a sideout for a 21-19 lead.

Kero also hit a five-point service run earlier in the last set, helping Houghton gain an 11-6 advantage.

"Our lengthy service runs were the difference, and that run by Ashlyn got us going in the second set," said Houghton coach John Christianson. "When you can get five, six points at a time, you can get to 25 pretty fast. If you can hold your opponent to one or two points at a time, it takes a long time for them to get to 25. I'm pleased with how we played as a team. Our girls improved throughout the day and were playing at a higher level at the end of the day. Some of the things we did in practice came to be, which tells me the girls are taking practice seriously. This is a big boost for us."

Houghton finished the first set behind a seven-point run by junior Sydney Dillinger, whose block gave the Gremlins a sideout and an 18-13 cushion to set up that run.

It didn't Houghton long to gain the upper hand in the first set as it gained an 11-5 advantage on a kill by senior middle hitter Elisa Jurmu.

Jurmu recorded 11 kills and two blocks in the title match. Senior Kenna Farrey added two blocks and 10 assists. Kero hit four aces. Dillinger collected 11 digs and senior Jada Riutta had seven.

The Gremlins reached the title match by rallying past Hancock 17-25, 25-15, 25-11 in the semifinals. Gladstone beat Gwinn 25-23, 25-20 in the other semifinal.

Hancock was within 13-9 in the third set. But a sideout, followed by a 10-point service run by Farrey enabled Houghton to gain an insurmountable 24-9 advantage.

In the second set, the Bulldogs were within 14-9 before Houghton began to pull away.

The Bulldogs came out on fire in the first set, building a 22-11 advantage.

Houghton pulled within 22-15 on a kill by Jurmu, but was unable to get any closer.

"Hancock was really pumped up," said Christianson. "Then, we had that little run at the end of the first set which I think gave us a little more confidence. That got us back into a rhythm and we were able to take our game to the next level."

In the first set, Hancock collected 11 kills and four aces. Senior libero Jen Hannon hit a five-point service run and junior outside hitter Amanda Manninen recorded a kill which gave the Bulldogs a 14-6 advantage.

"We came out strong, only we have to believe in ourselves for the whole match," said Hancock coach Mary Kaminski. "We passed the ball very well, then we kind of broke down. Give Houghton credit. They responded to adversity."

In pool play, Houghton swept Marquette (25-14, 25-23), Norway (25-13, 25-17), Escanaba (25-15, 25-19) and Gwinn (25-22, 25-22).

For the day, Jurmu totaled 32 kills, 28 digs and six blocks, while Dillinger had 10 kills, 10 blocks and 38 digs. Farreyy and Lexi Pyykkonen had 32 and 24 assists respectively, and Miranda Hillstrom had a team-high 34 digs.

The Bulldogs dropped a 25-18, 25-19 decision to Gladstone to open pool play, then responded with victories over Westwood (25-17, 25-11), Rapid River (25-13, 25-15) and Ishpeming (25-11, 25-17).

"We've made great strides since the Kingsford tournament (on Aug. 23)," said Kaminski. "Up there, we didn't get out of pool play. But today we made it into the playoffs. This is step in the right direction."

The Bulldogs resume Tuesday by hosting Calumet. Houghton then visits the Copper Kings Thursday.

 
 

 

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