Trouble with T.C.

West’s offense too much for Wildcats in loss

News Photo by James Andersen Alpena's Jessica Leeck (12) hits the ball as Traverse City West's Sophia Jenkins jumps up to block during a volleyball match on Wednesday at Alpena High School.

Traverse City West’s big hitters were a little too much for the Alpena volleyball team to handle on Wednesday.

Sophia Jenkins had 15 kills, Angela Patanella had nine and Sam Schermerhorn added seven as the Titans swept Alpena 25-20, 25-10, 25-14 at Alpena High School.

The Wildcats held their own in the early going, struggling initially against West’s front row, but eventually growing more comfortable defensively. But as the match wore on, West simply had too much offense to contain and Alpena struggled on both ends.

“I think it was great that we came out tonight and we weren’t flat,” Alpena coach Stacey McEwen said. “I thought we played great in that first game. I thought it was our best game of the night. They had enthusiasm, they worked hard and they played good.”

West established itself immediately in the match as Patanella recorded a kill and a block for the first two points. After Alpena gained a point, Jenkins and Becca Bohrer each had a kill, giving West a 4-1 lead.

Alpena fought back and forth with the Titans and challenged for the lead several times. Trailing 13-9, the Wildcats cut the lead to one, 13-12, after a push and a kill from Emma Dockrill as part of a three point rally.

Alpena got to within two points of the lead again later in the first set, but West got the ball back on a serving error and scored five straight points to take a 20-13 lead.

The Wildcats battled the rest of the way, but were a step behind the Titans who won the set after a hit landed just inside the line on Alpena’s end.

The Wildcats’ attempts to rally featured an impressive block from Edie Zann, which earned a point for Alpena to make it 21-16 late in the match.

McEwen knew improved blocking would be important on Wednesday and was pleased with what she saw. Despite West’s big offensive night, Alpena held its own early and was able to stop several of West’s attacks to keep volley’s going.

“We definitely improved on our blocking. I can’t complain about that,” McEwen said. “We’ve worked on it and we’re seeing some more touches.”

Zann led Alpena with seven kills, Tori Gentry had 15 digs and Allie DeRocher had four kills.

West took control early in the second set and kept building its lead from there. Holding an 11-7 lead, West rallied to score the next 10 points for a 21-7 advantage with Patanella and Jenkins among those leading the way. Alpena scored a few points late, but West easily closed things out for a two set lead.

Alpena traded points with West again early in the final set, but short offensive bursts ultimately paved the way for a West sweep. After Alpena scored to make it 10-7, West scored the next five points for a 15-7 lead. The two sides traded volleys and a hit from Zann made it 21-14, before West scored the next four points to win the match.

Jenkins had two aces, four blocks and six digs to go with her 15 kills and Patanella added three blocks and two digs. Schermerhorn added seven digs and Grace Martin had five kills, three aces and eight digs. Bohrer chipped in with five kills and five blocks.

Alpena’s JV team defeated West 25-15, 25-22, 25-27. Jade Gray had six kills for the Wildcats and Kate Skiba had 11 assists.

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