Facing off against a speedy passing attack and a front row that combined for over 20 kills, there wasn't a whole lot the Alpena volleyball team could do to combat Traverse City West on Wednesday, falling to the Titans by scores of 13-25, 20-25 and 18-25 at Alpena High School.
Using the front row trio of Katie Placek, Anna O'Hara and Courtney VanHouzen, the Titans used their size to set up fast, precision attacks that Alpena had trouble receiving.
"They have a very tall front row and they were hitting much quicker than they were the first time we played them," Alpena coach Melissa Doubek said. "Our serve reception wasn't as well as we've been playing in the past, so that kind of threw us off our game."
News Photo by James Andersen
Alpena’s Ami Milligan (2) and Nicole Ross attempt to block a spike from Traverse City West’s Anna O’Hara (15) during the second game of a volleyball match Wednesday at Alpena High School.
Brenna Bourdage and Emma Strong helped the Wildcats get off to a decent start in the first game and the two sides were tied early 5-5. West then scored the next eight points to take a 13-5 lead and later added a six-point run to pull further ahead, 21-10 before winning the first game.
The second game remained tight until late when Placek and VanHouzen helped start a 11-4 stretch for the Titans that put them ahead by two games. After Alpena scored to pull within two 16-14, VanHouzen, Placek and several other West players helped pull the Titans ahead as the Wildcats were unable to keep up with the Titans' attack.
VanHouzen had 10 kills and seven digs for West; Placek had four aces, six kills and ten digs; Kimmy Bilinski added six kills and four digs and Mattison Mokanyk chipped in with 23 assists.
Doubek attributed Alpena's woes to its inability to pass well, but praised Strong's defensive efforts.
"She was hustling on the block and had some kills," Doubek said of Strong. "Yesterday we were really timing our hits well, but we did not pass well today to get those hits. We were supposed to be hitting line and hitting outside the middle block and we didn't do that."
The Titans jumped out to a 6-1 lead to open the final game and didn't face a lot of resistance from there, adding points in bunches thanks to the efforts of Placek and other West players up front. Alpena attempted to close the gap a bit late in the match, scoring five points to rally to within four, 22-18, but after a timeout, West came back strong and won the match to complete the sweep.
Bourdage had 15 kills for Alpena and Strong and Taylor Genschaw each had four. Ami Milligan had three kills and 23 assists and Alie Sherwin added 12 digs.
Alpena's freshman team won 2-1 by scores of 25-15, 18-25 and 25-16. The Wildcats' JV team lost 18-25 and 19-25.
Alpena will play Saturday at the Garber Tournament in Bay City.
Hillman 3, Atlanta 2
ATLANTA-The Hillman volleyball team competed in Atlanta on Tuesday and came away with a victory, but had to fight the Huskies to get there, beating the Huskies 3-2 in five games by scores of 23-25, 25-16, 24-26, 25-18 and 15-2.
Chelsey Painter had 12 assists and 9 digs for Hillman; Abby Olree had 14 kills, eight digs, and four aces; and Jensen Tchorzynski had 32 service points, which included 17 aces, five kills, and 16 digs.
Hillman is now 5-3 in North Star League play and will play at 6:30 on Thursday at Fairview in a varsity-only match.