Every time Alpena High School volleyball coach called a timeout to regroup her team on Monday against Sault, the Wildcats knew just how to respond.
Alpena dropped the first game, but responding by winning the next three to emerge victorious over the Blue Devils in their home opener at Alpena High School.
After Sault won the first game 25-17 with a late flurry of points, the Wildcats came out with a force in the second game building a 7-1 lead in the early part of the game before going on to win 25-12.
News Photo by James Andersen
Alpena’s Emma Strong (11) hits the ball over the net as Sault’s Jacquline Holt goes up to block during a volleyball game on Monday at Alpena High School. Alpena defeated the Blue Devils in four games.
Doubek was pleased with the collective effort of her team, particularly the way the Wildcats picked themselves up with the games on the line.
"We played over the weekend and that was one thing about them, they never gave up. We played in the championship of the Silver Division on Saturday and we came back after being down a couple times and this group just plays through," Doubek said. "They don't give up, they play hard all the time and that's a lot of fun when you have a team that's willing to dig back from a deficit."
Brenna Bourdage led Alpena with 20 kills and three aces; Logan Myers had nine kills, eight digs and two aces; Emma Strong had six kills and Ami Milligan had 22 assists to go with three aces.
The Blue Devils got off to a fast start in the third game, building a 5-2 lead with four straight points. Both teams traded points until late in the game when Sault scored three points to pull ahead 23-20.
Out of a timeout, Bourdage had two kills and Myers had two aces as part of a five-point rally that gave the Wildcats a 25-23 win.
Sault pulled ahead again in the final game building leads of 11-5 and 16-10 before Alpena rallied back.
Down 19-15, the Wildcats reeled off five points to take a one-point lead. The Blue Devils briefy tied the game at 20, but the rest of the match belonged to Alpena.
Alpena will open Big North Conference play on Wednesday when it hosts Ogemaw Heights and Doubek is hoping the Wildcats can keep their momentum going.
"I'm really happy. We're battling some major illnesses and for us to be able to win tonight and get to the Silver Division on Saturday, we're playing really well," Doubek said. "We've been working on talking a lot. The kids have been really good about calling out offenses and talking on the defensive plays, so we need to work on that a little bit more and they did pick that up a bit."
The Wildcats lost in the championship match of the Silver Division at Alma on Saturday. The Wildcats were third in their pool after losing to St. Louis, beating Lainsburg, and losing to Lakewood.
In the Silver Division playoff, Alpena beat Alma and St Johns to earn a spot in the championship match against Grand Ledge. Alpena lost the match 13-25, 25-23, 8-15.
Alpena was led by Milligan who had 79 assists, 11 kills and four aces; Bourdage with 45 kills; Myers with 19 kills and 35 digs; Nicole Ross with 14 kills; Alie Sherwin with 38 digs, and Mikaela Overton with 10 aces.
Onaway finishes second in Pellston
PELLSTON-The Onaway volleyball team finished second at a tournament in Pellston on Saturday, picking up six wins and a tie before losing in the finals to the host Hornets.
Onaway picked up wins against Central Lake (25-10, 25-9), Harbor Springs (27-26, 25-21), Cheboygan (25-22, 25-21) and East Jordan (25-18, 25-14) and split with Kingsley (25-18, 19-25).
In the quarterfinals the Cardinals bested Charlevoix (25-17 and 25-19) and topped Boyne City in the semifinals (25-20 and 25-23). Onaway's run was stopped by the Hornets who took two games from the Cardinals 25-23 and 25-23 in the finals.
Mariah Ehrke led Onaway with 60 kills, nine assists, three aces, 48 digs and two blocks; Kallie Shimel had 32 kills, 79 assists, nine aces and 41 digs; Devin Bristley had 30 kills, 13 aces and 44 digs; Lexi Szymoniak had 24 kills, nine assists, 12 aces, 64 digs and three blocks; and Sara Fullerton had 31 kills, 30 digs and one ace.
Onaway hosts a tri-match with Gaylord and Wolverine today.