Practice makes perfect

By JAMES

ANDERSEN

News Sports Editor

Practice made perfect for the Alpena High volleyball team on Wednesday.

After an intense practice on Tuesday that focused on different offensive looks, the Wildcats put their plan into action against Ogemaw Heights, sweeping the Falcons 25-15, 25-18, 25-17 at Alpena High School.

Although Ogemaw played Alpena close for several stretches, it was Alpena’s offensive diversity that proved the difference in the match.

“That was one of our goals tonight, to mix up the offenses because last time when we played them they were really tough on the blocks, but that was not a factor tonight because the girls had the passes that led to the sets that led to the different offensive plays,” Alpena coach Melissa Doubek said.

Despite being ill with the flu, Jordan Modrzynski had a strong game for the Wildcats, finishing with six kills. Katie Mack added seven kills to go with five blocks and Lindsey Moggie and Brianna Clark each added five kills.

While Alpena’s offense was clicking, the Wildcats had a strong night in the back row as well. Isabelle O’Neil had 19 digs and was one of several players who set up setter Alexis Smith in good position to work the ball to Alpena’s hitters. Doubek also praised the efforts of Allison Heise who had four digs and Kaitlyn Schultz, who had seven digs and stepped up defensively with Modrzynski feeling under the weather.

Smith added two kills and 24 assists.

A 6-1 start in the first game gave Alpena an early advantage over the Falcons as Mack got in the action early, recording a tip and a kill. Ogemaw closed the gap to 8-7, but Alpena was able to stay ahead by a comfortable margin. While the Falcons were able to get some shots by Alpena’s defense, most of Ogemaw’s points came from service errors or attacks that landed out of bounds.

Alpena trailed early in the second game as the Falcons scored on some kills to lead by several points. Alpena put together a four-point run to take an 11-9 lead midway through the game and from there the Wildcats never trailed again. A later four point burst included two kills from Mack to give Alpena a 15-12 lead and another four point burst later on put Alpena ahead 21-15.

“We had a really great and intense practice yesterday, so I was excited to see the girls come out pretty strongly,” Doubek said. “Yesterday was a good practice and it’s nice to see what you practice then be executed in the match. It’s much easier as a coach to have that predictability.”

Alpena left no doubt of its offense prowess in the third game, jumping out to a 7-2 lead to start the game and cruising from there. A 7-2 lead later became 14-4 as the Falcons couldn’t get anything go offensively and had trouble stopping Alpena on the defensive end. A late burst by the Falcons made it 24-17 after three straight points by Ogemaw, but it proved too little too late for Alpena who finished off the sweep when an Ogemaw attack was hit into the net.

Alpena’s JV defeated Ogemaw 19-25, 25-11, 25-12. Tori Gentry had 13 assists, Madison Murphy had 10 digs and Cheyenne Perkins had eight kills.

Alpena’s freshmen team topped the Falcons 25-10, 25-16, 25-21. Jaime Modrzynski had four aces and Adrianna Gumtow had three kills.