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Wildcats swept by TC West in Big North Conference tilt

News Photo by Jonny Zawacki Alpena’s Allie DeRocher (3) attempts to spike a ball past Traverse City West defenders Sara Schermerhorn (4) and Leah Allen (3) during the first set of a Big North Conference volleyball match on Wednesday at Alpena High School.

After opening Big North Conference play against Cadillac with a loss one week ago, the Alpena High School volleyball team had time to reflect and prepare for another one of the BNC’s top teams in Traverse City West.

Unfortunately, Wednesday’s results were eerily similar to the Wildcats’ last conference matchup as the Wildcats (9-3, 0-2 BNC) were on the receiving end of a sweep, losing to the Titans 25-22, 25-14 and 25-13.

“Our girls did a good job adjusting to their offense. we started to pick up some of the digs that we weren’t at the beginning and started playing a little bit tougher,” Alpena coach Melissa Doubek said. “We have had the tendency to start out strong in a set and then fall behind and put our heads down so we need to keep working on that and play all the way through, from beginning to end. We did a lot of good things tonight against a real tough team, but had too many breakdowns and a lack of concentration.”

The Wildcats fell behind 17-9 in the opening set, but stormed back with an 8-2 run to cut the lead to two.

Alpena trailed 22-19 before the Titans scored a pair of points to come within a point away from taking an early lead in the match. The Wildcats did not go away quietly as they scored three straight to once again cut the lead to two, but that was as close as the Wildcats would get as they dropped the opening set.

Alpena responded by taking an early lead in the second set, but the lead quickly evaporated and the two teams went back and forth during the early stages of the second set before West took control midway through. The Titans used an 8-2 run to take a 17-10 lead and the Titans rolled to a commanding two set lead in the match when they scored eight of the final 12 points.

“West is a good hitting team and we did do some good blocking and digging as far as cutting off some of their quick attacks that we saw before the match. We adjusted our defense coming into the match and I thought the girls did a good job making that adjustment,” Doubek said. “There we other times that offensively we just didn’t do as well as we have in the past so we had a little lack of confidence on our attacks and our offensive power were not as strong as we’ve seen in the past.”

The third and eventual final set was much of the same as Alpena battled the Titans in the early going as both teams were tied 10-10 midway through. But the Titans got hot and took advantage of Alpena’s inability to execute, scoring 13 of the final 15 points of the set to come away with a decisive conference victory.

The Wildcats were paced by Allie DeRocher who had six kills, five assists and five digs. Allie Urlaub recorded 10 digs and had a pair of kills and Jade Gray dished out seven assists, had eight digs and three kills.

“We just played the conference leaders. I saw some good things going on tonight so hopefully we build on those and make adjustments with the things that we did poorly,” Doubek said. “All in all, we had some spurts like we have all year of some things that we’ve done well, but once again we had too many dropped balls that we shouldn’t have had.”

The Wildcats return to action on Tuesday when they host Petoskey.

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