HILLMAN-The Hillman volleyball team (8-3, 2-1 North Star) looked to have their Thursday match against Whittemore-Prescott (1-4, 1-3 North Star) wrapped up after winning the first two sets 25-18 and 25-19, but a rally by the Cardinals in the next two sets, 25-16 and 25-18, forced a fifth set.
"We didn't play very well together as a team. In the third and fourth set, I tried out some different rotations and they just weren't working out for us, so I had to go back to our normal rotations for the fifth set," Hillman coach Amy Moir said.
The Tigers made a statement in the fifth set by jumping to an 8-1 lead during the serves of Alissa Jones and Riley Appelgren. The Cardinals tried to answer back, but struggled with out of bounds shots and bad serves.
The only batch of solid scoring for the Cardinals came at 8-2, when they scored three points in a row. That is as close as they got, as Hillman won the set and the match 15-7.
The first two sets started much closer between the two teams. Each team answered the other nearly score for score during the first set, until Hillman took a 16-15 lead. Whittemore-seemed to falter under the pressure of Jensen Tchorzynski's serves and Grace Buck's kills as the Tigers pulled into a 19-15 lead.
Tchorzynski had 10 kills and six digs while Buck had six.
The Cardinals narrowed the score to 20-18 during the serves of Danielle Bronson, but Hillman scored five straight points during the serves of Brice Kenyon to take the set.
The second set started out similarly close at 6-4, but Hillman started to pull head during Eden Hunt's serves and picked up a 12-6 lead. The Cardinals tried to answer back, but the spread was too severe and they dropped the set 25-19.
Whittemore seemed to come to life in the third set, snatching up a 12-5 lead. Hillman's defense couldn't seem to hold back against the spikes of Warner and Emily Hickman and made several errors during key moments in long volleys. Warner was especially useful up front, picking up multiple blocks.
Although Hillman wracked up a few kills late in the set, it was too little too late, as Hillman lost 25-16.
The Tigers seemed more into the fourth set. Both teams were aggressive offensively and defensively and stayed within a point or two up til Whittemore took a 14-13 lead. The Cardinals then scored 10 out of the next 15 points to take the set.
"Our girls did a great job coming back from behind and forcing the fifth set. Their serves were great and their play was tight and overall, I was happy with how they played," Whittemore coach Erin Grezeszak said.
Hillman travels to Oscoda on Tuesday.
Whittemore's JV beat Hillman 28-26, 26-24 and 8-15.
Eric Benac can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5690. Follow Eric on Twitter @EricBenac.