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Forest Park starts fast at W-M, ends with another title

 

November 5, 2016

Jason Juno/Daily Globe

Wakefield-Marenisco's Darienne Korpi, right, hits as Crystal Falls Forest Park's Jenna Grabowski goes for the block during Friday's MHSAA Class D District 127 final in Wakefield.

WAKEFIELD - Wakefield-Marenisco's high hopes for an upset of Crystal Falls Forest Park in the Class D District 127 volleyball tournament finals were dashed by the fast, up-tempo starts of the Lady Trojans in all three sets.

Forest Park played with a sense of urgency and defeated the Cardinals 25-12, 25-16 and 25-16. It was the 17th straight year CFFP has taken home the district tournament championship trophy.

"To win 17 in a row, you can have the athletes, but if they're not dedicated, working hard and have the discipline, you don't get the continued success," Forest Park coach Kim Bjorn said. "This year has been a roller-coaster, but this team has athleticism and plays smart and together."

Bjork said the district streak started in 2001 when she was still a student and player in Crystal Falls.

After winning two earlier games in the district tournament, both W-M coach Jessica Novascone and senior Darienne Korpi said W-M was confident and ready-to-go.

"We were very confident," Korpi said. "They even had a tailgate party in the parking lot to get us ready. Crystal Falls Forest Park came in with the attitude they were going to smoke us, but we were going to put up a fight."

Put up a fight they did, but the story of this night was the Lady Trojans jumping to early big leads that were nearly insurmountable. In the first set, Forest Park took leads of 6-0 and 13-1. In game two, the Lady Trojans went up 9-0 and in the last set, CFFP took a 7-0 lead.

"At the beginning of each set, they took leads of 6-8 to 10 points," Novascone said. "They really started quick. After the first set, we were really nerved up. The girls don't understand that to win, you have to start out with momentum. And we don't play fast teams like this much. Crystal Falls Forest Park looked a lot tougher tonight than last night. They are a very consistent team. "

"But we definitely played hard and I'm proud of them. After we lost important players last year, we finished 13-7 this year and there were one or two games we should have won. But the players have stepped up year after year. There were people doubting us and we played tough throughout the year. We were undefeated in our side of the conference."

In game one, CFFP was running like a well-oiled machine and W-M fell behind 13-1. But the Cardinals decided enough was enough. Korpi blocked a shot at the net for a point and followed that up with a kill.

Ebanie Delich notched a kill, but the game was on the brink when Forest Park took a 24-8 lead.

W-M held on. With Abby Ahonen serving, Forest Park hit a return shot up into the ceiling and another shot into the net. Their next hit was air-mailed long and Saundra Libertoski nailed a kill to make it 24-11.

But the Cardinals had to come back too far and lost the set 25-12. After being down 13-1, Forest Park out-scored W-M 12-11 the rest of the way. There were signs of hope W-M could play with the Lady Trojans.

But second set started the same as the first. This time the hole the Cardinals dug for themselves was a 14-3 deficit. Korpi then found a hole in the defense for a kill shot and Alexa Jilek hit the back corner with a shot.

Delich and Rachel Obradovich slammed kills, Forest Park couldn't handle a Delich serve and Libertoski hit a kill off a defender's hands. Being down 19-12 looked a whole lot better than 13-1.

The Cardinals managed to pull within 23-17 after CFFP mis-hit three shots, but Forest Park's Hannah Cross ripped a cross-court kill and W-M hit a shot long as the Lady Trojans took the second set 25-16.

"Wakefield- Marenisco is a good team," Bjork said. "Passing was their downfall tonight. They didn't get a good set-up for their hitters, but they definitely have talent at the net."

In the final set, Forest Park broke fast again and took leads of 7-0, 11-4 and 17-8.

Delich put out the fire with another kill and the Lady Trojans had four hits on one play. Jilek swatted a kill down the middle and Sara Wasielewski smashed a line drive ace that was to hot too handle as the Cardinals narrowed the lead to 22-15.

W-M was still pumped up when Obradovich hit a long kill and Korpi added another kill, but the hill was too high to climb once again and the Lady Trojans closed out the set and match with a 25-16 victory.

Obradovich had her usual good day with seven kills and five digs, while Korpi slammed four kills, three digs and an ace. Delich hit five kills, one ace and had a terrific 15 digs and Ahonen dished out seven assists and dug out three digs.

Tears began to flow for the W-M players as the reality of a season ending hit them hard, but Korpi summed it up best.

"It was a tough loss but a good season," Korpi said.

 
 

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