Hillman disappointed despite win over Posen

News Photo by James Andersen Hillman's Kristen Kenyon (7) hits the ball past Posen's Cami LaTulip during a North Star League volleyball match in Hillman on Tuesday.

HILLMAN–The Hillman volleyball team has done some impressive things this season, winning a tournament to open the year and beating Alpena among other teams in early action.

Hillman won again at home on Tuesday, but afterward the Tigers weren’t feeling much like winners.

Hillman hosted Posen in a North Star League matchup and swept the Vikings in three sets: 25-20, 25-20, 25-14. But the victory came after an up-and-down night and only saw the Tigers pull away during the final set.

“They were pretty upset with themselves because they know they didn’t play real well. That’s a good sign that they want to do better,” Hillman coach Amy Moir said. “When we play a team that’s a little slower than us, we tend to play a little slower and we were very sloppy tonight; probably the sloppiest we’ve played all year.”

Hillman won the third set on the strength of its serving, pulling away down the stretch to win the match. But the Tigers looked out of sync to start the set and fell behind 6-1.

A kill from Brooke Jones and a pair of kills from Kristen Kenyon got some momentum going for the Tigers and after two more Posen points, Hillman ran off an 11-0 run to take the lead. The stretch included four aces from Kenyon. After Posen scored four points to cut the lead to 15-12, Hillman caught fire again and scored the next eight points to take a commanding 23-12 lead.

Kenyon led Hillman with 14 kills and Alexis Mutschler had 22 digs. Alison Samp added 39 assists and Jones had 18 digs and five aces.

Posen fought Hillman tooth-and-nail in the first set and trailed 20-17 late. Posen trailed by only a few points the rest of the way and closed the gap further to 21-20 before Hillman scored the last four points to win.

Hillman got off to a better start in the second set and led 7-2 early and upped its lead to 14-7 later on. The Vikings took advantage of out of bounds attacks and miscues on Hillman’s end to rally back and backed it up with some key offensive plays.

“I’m very happy with our chemistry coming off the Rogers City game (last week). We had a few miscommunications and I feel like we fixed that tonight,” Posen coach Lori Graham said. “We’re still working on figuring out where everyone’s supposed to be on the floor and I think that’s playing a factor in things. Other than that, they looked good. I’m excited to keep things moving forward with this season.”

Cami LaTulip led Posen with six kills and six blocks. Hannah Stone added nine assists and Brooke Ciarkowski had six aces.

An ace from Ciarkowski made it 19-18 Hillman late, but a net violation on the next volley gave Hillman the ball back. Hillman scored the next three points and ultimately ended the set with a kill from Kenyon.

James Andersen can be reached via email at sports@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5694. Follow James on Twitter @ja_alpenanews.