Starting to settle in

Vikings defeat Oscoda in tight NSL matchup

News Photo by Jonny Zawacki Posen’s Cami LaTulip attempts to spike a ball past Oscoda sophomore Lauren Langley (4) during the first set of a North Star League volleyball match on Tuesday at Posen High School.

POSEN — Tuesday’s North Star League volleyball matchup between Posen and Oscoda began much different than it ended.

The Vikings jumped out to a huge lead early in the first set, but Oscoda fought back and made the night difficult for the home team in what was a competitive match, but in the end, Posen found a way to win in four sets by scores of 25-21, 18-25, 25-23 and 25-19.

“The girls looked good tonight. We still have some things to work on, but I think we’re finally settling in and getting more comfortable on the floor,” Posen coach Lori Graham said. “I made a few changes throughout the night and we looked good except for our serve receive and lack of communication, but we continue to improve and we’ll continue to work hard.”

The Vikings jumped out to a huge 16-3 lead in the opening set and appeared to coast to a lead in the match. Despite the big lead, Oscoda fought back after trailing 18-6. The Owls cut the lead to single digits, making the score 20-11 before going on a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to two.

The comeback fell short as Posen responded after calling a timeout and scored five of the final eight points to take the set and early lead in the match.

“We’ve been working hard in practice on focusing on the last five points, making sure they really push through and making sure they don’t give up the last five and it really showed tonight,” Graham said. “We were able to stick with it and we didn’t give up. Oscoda kept cutting it close throughout the match, but our girls just kept on going and that was nice to see.”

The rest of the match was nothing like the first set as each set was a back-and-forth battle with the largest lead by either team the rest of the way being four points.

Oscoda was able to build off the momentum it gained with the comeback in the first set and rebounded to win the second set by carrying a lead the entire way to even the match up at a win apiece.

The Vikings opened the third set with a 9-5 lead and never gave up the lead, but saw themselves in a 23-23 tie late in the set before scoring the final two points to regain their lead in the match.

Posen showed some resiliency in what was the final set of the night as the Owls jumped out to a 10-5 lead and held a two point lead midway through the match before the Vikings went on a 6-2 run to take a 18-15 lead.

Oscoda rallied to score three unanswered points and tie the game, but once again, the Vikings responded by scoring seven of the next eight points to close out the match and get revenge on an Oscoda team that they recently lost to in a weekend tournament.

“I saw a lot of progress in our defense tonight. We worked a lot on covering their left-handed middle hitter, which is something you don’t see a lot,” Graham said. “We focused on that and shifting our defense over and making those adjustments and I thought our girls did a good job with that tonight.”

The Vikings were led by Brooke Ciarkowski who had seven kills and six digs. Cami LaTulip added six digs. Madison Menzel chipped in with seven kills and Hannah Stone dished out 11 assists.

With the win, Posen improves to 11-11 overall and 4-4 in NSL play.

The Vikings will be back in action tomorrow when they host Alcona.