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L’Anse wins ‘Battle of the Bay’ by beating Baraga in three sets

Jamie Glenn/Daily Mining Gazette Baraga’s Courtney Tembreull leaps to attempt a kill during a match against L’Anse Monday at the L’Anse Gym.

L’ANSE — In a bit of a roller coaster ride of a volleyball match, the L’Anse Purple Hornets defeated the Baraga Vikings in the second round of the “Battle of the Bay” after many serve changes and low digs Monday in the L’Anse Gym, 25-19, 25-17 and 25-23.

In the opener, the Vikings stayed on the heels of the Purple Hornets, falling behind by two before a seven-point streak from L’Anse allowed the Purple Hornets to take the set.

“(In) the first set, I thought they would come out stronger,” said Vikings coach Heather Chosa. “They were really rolled up in the locker room, and I expected them to come out (and play) a little bit harder than that, but they did have quite a few aces that game.”

Serve streaks from the Purple Hornets’ Kailyn Voskuhl, Mandy Gransell, and Haley Nankervis helped make it a ten-point lead in the second set that the Vikings would be unable to recover from.

“We have to watch (serves) on our lines,” said Chosa. “L’Anse is great for hitting on the lines and our girls tend to go to the middle. They played to their advantage (and) hit (serves) down the lines. We’re used to playing more in the middle for middle hitters and that did hurt us.”

One team’s strength is another’s weakness. A strong front row helped L’Anse, but hurt the Vikings, throughout the entire match.

“All my middle (hitters), they battle for those starting positions all the time,” said L’Anse coach Callie Budweg. “Haley and Josie (Rice) have really come around and are starting to swing on top of the ball, which is helping our offensive attack. We’re moving our feet a little more and just playing a lot more confidently.”

“They kind of fell apart in that second set,” said Chosa. “I told them that ‘We still have three sets to play. You can come back and beat them.’ I wish they would’ve played as strong as they did in the third set earlier on (in the match).

“We had nine missed serves. Those cost you the game when you have those missed serves.”

The third set saw two lead changes and two broken ties. A spike from Nankervis broke a 23-23 tie and gave L’anse the momentum they needed to win the set and the match.

Budweg was happy to see an almost full season of hard work pay off for her team as they pulled out all three sets.

“The girls needed to relax and play their game and not play down,” said Budweg. “I think they did a good job of staying composed. Sometimes with the lesser-talented teams, more athletic teams tend to play down.

“We’ve been working a lot on communication and I think it’s really starting to show. The girls are actually running an offense and running the momentum when they have it.”

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