The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

W-M to play Forest Park in district final tonight


Jason Juno/Daily Globe

Wakefield-Marenisco advanced to the MHSAA Class D District 127 championship game with a sweep of Watersmeet in a semifinal Thursday night in Wakefield. The Cardinals will host Crystal Falls Forest Park tonight at 6 p.m. W-M's Alexa Jilek, right, tries to hit it over Watersmeet's Katelyn Grosso Thursday. For more on Thursday's volleyball action, see page 9.

WAKEFIELD — Crystal Falls Forest Park swept Bessemer and Wakefield-Marenisco blitzed Watersmeet in the MHSAA Class D District 127 volleyball semifinals on Thursday.

The winning teams will meet tonight at 6 p.m. to determine the 2016 district champion. CFFP has won districts 17 years in a row.

It was evident that W-M coach Jessica Novascone already had Crystal Falls Forest Park on her mind.

"We never get to see them and we never play them," Novascone said. "You have to start quick against them or you'll be in trouble. We have to get that in the girls' heads and get them ready.

"I feel good about going into the district championship game. We lost 26-24 in the final set last year. The girls know they don't want to let their team down, they'll play 100 percent."

Forest Park 3, Bessemer 0

In the opening game of the evening, Forest Park played high-powered volleyball and defeated the Speedgirls 25-9, 25-18, 25-12.

"We did OK and hit the ball well," Trojan coach Kim Bjork said. "We had fairly decent serving. We struggled at times in the second set, but we worked through it. We've played up and down all the time this year and finished in second place in our conference (behind Munising). It was good that all the girls played tonight and contributed something to the win to get some confidence. We always try to get our players better and never be satisfied."

Bessemer coach Shelly Mettler said Forest Park was just too strong mentally and physically.

"We weren't intimidated by them," Mettler said. "They're also very disciplined and they walk out knowing they can get the job done. They have a strong, year-round program and Kim and their girls sacrifice a lot.

"Foot speed has been a problem for us all year and we struggled with the pass and shanked some. But the girls never gave up. Sometimes you're trying to teach the girls life lessons. If the seniors take that to the next level, they will be successful."

In game one, Forest Park's Jenna Grabowski's kill and Hanna Logan's ace got the Lady Trojans started playing the rapid-fire volleyball they are known for.

It was 6-1 before Megan Peterson's kill down the line slowed up Forest Park a little.

But Logan pounded out a cross-court kill and a Bessemer shot into the net gave the Lady Trojans a 16-3 advantage.

"Bessemer has some athletes and some of the pieces to the puzzle," Bjork said. "We wanted to start fast and not let them get any confidence."

Mettler said the fast start has been Forest Park's trademark for years.

"They play that fast tempo and try to get you down quickly," Mettler said.

After Abby Nylund's wicked serve gave Forest Park an 18-5 lead, the Speedgirls had its best series of plays. Caitlin Lynch had a booming kill and Kelsey Kitto served three straight points, including a serve that was too hot for the Forest Park defender to handle.

Bessemer got within 18-9, but Hannah Cross served out the set at 25-9.

Bessemer's Rachel Emery started off game two with a kill, but Forest Park answered back with three kills of its own.

The Lady Trojans went up 10-5, but Bessemer battled back. Hannah Koivisto is a hard server and her service ace tied the set at 11-11. But the Speedgirls mis-hit a few shots and Logan's two aces increased the Forest Park lead to 18-12.

Down the stretch, Bessemer's Samantha Olson slammed a kill, but Forest Park got kills from Logan, and Cross to seal the deal at 25-18.

In game three, the Speedgirls started with three shots into the net and fell behind 4-0. Forest Park's Nola McDowell served seven straight points to take a 15-4 lead.

The Lady Trojans went ahead 22-5, but Bessemer continued to battle on with two strong kills by Lynch. Ciara Novascone made a great dig on a ball that produced a Bessemer point, but Forest Park took the set and match 25-12.

Mettler said Allyson Metas "played unbelievable" with one ace, eight kills and 10 digs. Emery contributed an ace, four kills, a block and seven digs and Olson added one ace, two kills and two digs.

W-M 3, Watersmeet 0

In the late game, Wakefield-Marenisco started fast and never looked back in thumping Watersmeet 25-8, 25-12 and 25-22.

"We played two good sets tonight," Novascone said. "They gave us trouble in the third set and we had a major lull. We had to turn it back on and close it out. We came out to play today. The girls wanted it and we played like we did against Ironwood. We have to tighten up our consistency tomorrow (tonight)."

Ebanie Delich was sharp from the start with her serving as she put 17 points on the board before Watersmeet scored. But she had help from Rachel Obradovich with three kills, a very good hit by Saundra Libertoski, a tip by Abby Ahonen and mis-hits from Watersmeet. Delich notched three strong service aces.

W-M made another surge towards the end of the set and Delich closed it out with two kills to make it 25-8.

In game two, W-M's Alexa Jilek made a tip to the open court for a point and Darienne Korpi's two big kills gave the Cardinals a 10-8 advantage.

Watersmeet's Katelyn Grosso aced W-M to knot the set at 10-10, but the Cardinals ran off six straight points behind Sara Wasielewski's serving and W-M went up 17-11.

Ahonen served W-M's final four points behind her ace and Obradovich's kill. The set finished at 25-12.

In the final set, Watersmeet's Hailey Pallin got the Nimrods moving in the right direction with two low-flying aces to take an 8-6 lead and Watersmeet increased its advantage to 14-12.

After W-M made four hits on one play, the Nimrods were ahead 22-17 and the Cardinals went into rally mode.

Korpi, Delich and Jilek made clutch kills and Elizabeth Makela came through with an ace. Kills by Delich and Jilek made it six straight points and finished off the set and match at 25-22.

Obradovich led the way with 11 kills, two aces and one dig, while Korpi notched five kills and two assists.

Ahonen added one kill, dished out 10 assists and had two service aces.


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