HILLMAN-Before Thursday's game against Hillman, Au Gres volleyball coach Jeri Christie told her team that it had to get over the issues that it has been plagued by recently and get back to playing solid volleyball.
Challenege accepted and answered.
The Wolverines rose to the occasion and swept Hillman in a North Star League match, winning 25-20, 25-18 and 25-12.
News Photo by James Andersen
Hillman’s Chelsey Painter, left, hits the ball over the net as Au Gres’ Kym Ecker goes up to block during a volleyball match on Thursday at Hillman High School.
Au Gres played a very solid game from the outset and just kept imposing its will on the Tigers, who never really seemed to find a rhythm.
"I'm very proud of the girls. We've been struggling and I kind of gave them an ultimatum at the beginning of the game and asked them to step up and get over whatever has been holding us back and that's what I got," Christie said.
Cassidy Boensch had eight kills for the Wolverines and was the focal point of the Au Gres offense all night, whether it was with a kill, a well-timed tip or a block.
Christie was impressed by the play of Boensch, who is a freshman and at 6-3, is easily the tallest player on the floor most nights.
"She's a freshman, so she's not real experienced and doesn't know the game real well, but she's 6-3 and if she can get her hands on the ball, there's not going to be a whole lot of people that are going to be able to do anything back if she hits it," Christie said.
Kym Ecker added seven aces for the Wolverines and Kyleigh Gordon had seven assists.
After a 13-13 tie midway through the first game, Au Gres fall behind by a few points, but began an eight-point run which was keyed by Boensch who came up with several big plays to put the Wolverines ahead 22-16. A pair of aces by Jensen Tchorzynski helped pull Hillman to within four late in the match, 24-20, but Au Gres was able to get the final point on the next serve.
Hillman's struggles continued into the second game as the Tigers had trouble hitting the ball over the net, giving the Wolverines a lot of free points on balls that were hit short. Au Gres eventually built a 19-10 lead, thanks again to Boensch and the serving of Brooklynn Robinson. The Tigers once again tried to rally back, but the deficit proved too great.
While the Wolverines seemed to gel more as the match went on, the Tigers had trouble getting things to work and coach Erin Brege said the Tigers just didn't have chemistry on Thursday.
"The chemistry wasn't there and it seemed like it was a little bit of everything for each (player). All the little errors just add up and that's what it is," Brege said.
Tchorzynski led Hillman with six kills and four aces. Kourtney Boldrey had eight service points and Abby Olree had five kills and 11 digs.
With victory near after two games, Au Gres stormed out to a commanding 8-1 lead, built by the solid serving of Ecker and Katie Card who combined for five aces during the stretch. from there the Wolverines needed only to score points in bunches and come up with key defensive plays. While Boensch kept playing well offensively and defensively, other players stepped into the mix including Kaylin Chesney, who dove for a ball on a Hillman spike and sent it back over the net for a point to give Au Gres a 14-6 lead.
The Tigers were once again undone by inconsistency and couldn't respond with more than one or two points at a time.
Brege gave credit to the Wolverines, who she said played much better than the previous time the two sides played each other.
I was very impressed with Au Gres. We played them down in Oscoda and we had split with them in that match," Brege said. "We made some adjustments and I was expecting tonight to go differently, but it wasn't there. I kept trying to find the chemistry, but it wasn't there and I commend Au Gres for their improvement."