Planning for the future
Alpena tinkers with lineups in win over Falcons
With district play looming in less than a week, Alpena High volleyball coach Melissa Doubek took the opportunity on Monday to tinker with her lineup a little bit.
It gave Doubek a chance to see how different players responded to playing in different positions and at the end of the night, it worked out well as the Wildcats swept Ogemaw Heights: 25-21, 25-16, 25-23.
Monday’s win wasn’t Alpena’s smoothest, but late in the season, it afforded Doubek the chance to try some different combinations on the court with Petoskey on tap for Wednesday to wrap up the regular season and district play beginning next Monday.
“We had the opportunity tonight to put a lot of people in a lot of different places, so just going into the district competition (we) got to see some people doing some different things,” Doubek said.
On Parents Night, the Wildcats pulled ahead late in an up-and-down first set, powered past the Falcons in the second set and fought up some late mistakes in the third set to earn the sweep.
Edie Zann and Allie DeRocher each had nine kills for Alpena, Emma Dockrill had eight kills and Kate Skiba had seven kills.
Doubek praised Dockrill, who was one of seven seniors honored on Monday, after she went 8-for-11 on attacks for the night.
“She had some nice line shots. That’ll be key for us going into districts, being able to hit those line shots,” Doubek said. “We’ve been passing very well and we’ll be working hard on that for Wednesday because Petoskey’s going to be tough.”
Both teams traded their fair share of serving and attacking errors in the first set and late in the set, Alpena clung to an 18-17 lead. The Wildcats got fire the rest of the way however as Zann had a block, a kill and a push to help Alpena pull out the win.
Alpena found its footing in the second set as the Wildcats went on a dominant 9-2 run that saw Alpena’s front row overwhelm the Falcons. A 5-0 run late in the set gave Alpena an 18-9 lead and the Wildcats held Ogemaw at bay the rest of the way.
The Falcons, Alpena’s former Big North Conference rivals, played well in stretches, but many of their points came from serving or attacking errors on Alpena’s part.
Alpena played well enough to hold a five or six point lead for the majority of the final set and went on a roll late when Skiba slammed three kills past Ogemaw’s defense, helping to extend Alpena’s lead to 22-16.
A string of Alpena attacking errors allow Ogemaw to close the gap and the Falcons got as close as 22-21 and 24-23 before DeRocher recorded a kill to end the match.
DeRocher also finished the night with two aces and five digs; Zann had two blocks and five digs and Meghan Roznowski and Aubree Sheldon had eight digs each.
Alpena will play at Petoskey on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.