LINCOLN - Down to the wire.
Alcona dueled Hillman for five games, and pulled out a 25-11, 21-25, 25-16, 22-25, 16-14 volleyball victory Tuesday at Alcona High School.
"It was intense," said Alcona volleyball coach Ashlie O'Connor. "They pulled through a 2 1/2-hour match and you can't ask anymore as a coach."
The hero for Alcona (2-2) in the fifth game was Lauren Silver. She served the final two points, including an ace for the win. She also had a kill and a couple defensive digs in the final game. Silver finished with six kills and three blocks.
O'Connor said confidence was the key to victory for Alcona.
"They believed they can win," said O'Connor.
Hillman (0-1) had the lead 14-13 lead in the fifth game, but couldn't capitalize on match point.
"It's a heartbreaker," said Hillman volleyball coach Nikki Oswald. "These are the hard ones to deal with afterwards. We were so close - two points."
The close match did benefit both sides.
"(Close games) are very important," said Oswald. "It helps our team establish communication, and fundamental drills actually make sense."
O'Connor also was pleased with the close games.
"These games are extremely important," said O'Connor. "Every game is a confidence builder for districts."
Momentum was the key for Alcona in its game wins.
Alcona opened up a 7-2 lead in the first game and then 16-6. Danielle Belanger closed the game out with three straight service points. Belanger finished with 21 service points and an ace.
In the third game win, Alcona's Haley DeJarlais, who finished with seven aces, opened with nine straight points on her serve. Hillman cut the lead to as little as 17-15, but couldn't catch Alcona.
Hillman won two close games.
In game two, Hillman and Alcona were tied eight times. The game came down to Hillman's frontline. Alexis Hubert and Marissa Banks combined for four kills to lead Hillman to a 25-21.
In game four, Hillman jumped out to an 8-1 lead on Courtney Jones' serve. Jones finished with six aces. Alcona made a run at 20-12 to cut the lead to 23-22, but the Tigers held on to force a fifth game.
Banks finished with 21 points, three aces, four kills and 20 attacks and Amanda Kennard had 20 service points, six aces, 11 attacks and two kills for Hillman. Breanne Johnson added four aces and five kills.
Sarah Hart had four blocks for Alcona.
John Bronz can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5690.