IRONWOOD — The two volleyball matches between Bessemer and Ironwood were so similar, it was almost like rewinding a movie and watching it over again.
Bessemer wins the first two games and Ironwood comes back to take games three and four. But on Thursday night, the script changed at the end. Ironwood won the fifth set in their first match, but this time the Speedgirls took the fifth set and won a very close match 25-20, 25-22, 19-25, 18-25 and 16-14.
“It went right down to the wire, just like the last game,” Speedgirl coach Shelly Mettler said. “We went two sets up, but I never doubted Ironwood would come back because the first two games were close. I didn’t want the girls to go flat in the third and fourth sets, but that’s exactly what we did. In the fifth game, I wanted them to leave it all on the court.
“I told them I’d rather have them go down swinging and lose than play it safe and win. I told them to play with emotion and keep playing with emotion”
Bessemer senior Sarah Trudgeon, who was all over the court with five kills, 12 assists and two aces, said the difference between the first game and the second game was that the Speedgirls “really wanted it” this time. She also admitted she had played a heck of a game.
“This game meant a lot to us and we played our hearts out and left everything on the court,” Trudgeon said. “I have so much faith in our team. This was one of my better games. It got so loud and we were really pumped up.”
Ironwood coach Lisa Graham was also surprised how similar the two games were but wasn’t happy with the ending of this match.
“That was definitely not our best volleyball,” Graham said. “We’ve played much better. We had lots of mental mistakes, mistakes we normally don’t make. The only positive is to take our lumps now and play well in the district tournament. But it tough to lose at homecoming. We had a nice crowd that was very intense and our student section was loud.”
But Graham gave Bessemer credit for a good win.
“I’ve seen Bessemer play before and that’s the scrappiest and best I’ve seen them play,” she said.
In game one, Bessemer went up 13-7 after a long hit by Trudgeon landed inside the back-line. Kills from Mariah Beaudette and Jessica Gering closed the gap to 20-17, but Claire Tourville closed out the set with double aces.
The second game was close all the way and Allyson Hanson tied the game at 16-16 with a great tip down the sideline, but Emily DiGiorgio came right back with hard kill shot.
Beaudette and Brenna Bogaczyk traded kill and blocks down the stretch, but it was Bogaczyk’s kill that nipped the back line for a 25-22 win.
In the third game. Gering’s patented tip to the back line put Ironwood up 17-10 and Bessemer lost its focus, played it safe and made mistakes as Ironwood got its first win.
Game four was tight until Beaudete and DiGiorgio made kills and Gering’s hit that couldn’t be handled allowed Ironwood to pull away 25-18.
In game five, Trudgeon’s block gave Bessemer a 10-5 advantage. A tip by Katie Erickson that barely made it over the net tied the decisive game at 12-12. But Ironwood had a violation and pushed shots long and wide. Trudgeon closed out the set and match with a service ace.
Besides Trudgeon’s big night, Tourville nailed six aces along with two kills and 10 assists. Julie Ahnen slammed four aces with five kills. Bogaczyk made her presence felt in the middle with 10 kills and six blocks.
Bogaczyk battled all night with Ironwood’s Beaudette, who had 14 kills and four blocks. Both coaches said it was “fun” play to watch the girls play so hard against each other.
“It’s a very good match-up,” Graham said. “It’s kill, block, go at it and they will get in your face. They have great intensity and you’d like to have both of them on your team.”
Mettler said junior Valerie Rowe had her “best game all year.” Graham praised Ally Clemens for her serving and said she scored the most points while serving.
Ironwood senior Jessica Gering pounded 11 kills and Sarah Johnson added seven. Emily DiGiorgio and Katie Erickson had five kills and Erickson notched 32 assists.