HILLMAN-The Hillman volleyball team didn't win on Thursday at home against Mancelona, but the Tigers certainly gave Mancelona everything they had.
The Ironmen walked away with a hard-fought win in five games, topping the Tigers 32-30, 21-25, 24-26, 26-24 and 15-11.
It was a tough loss to take for the Tigers who held a 2-1 lead after three games and battled to the very end of the fourth game before Mancelona forced the winner-take-all Game 5.
"Our defense (was the difference). (There were) too many balls hitting the floor," Hillman coach Amy Moir said. "We weren't attacking the ball as much as we should have in the last game and they were attacking it back at us."
The Tigers had a hard time stopping the attacks of Mancelona senior Dakota Derrer, who seemed to come up with a key play to keep Mancelona in games when Hillman threatened to pull away. After the Ironmen pulled away late in the final game, Derrer came up with a kill as part of a 5-2 run that gave Mancelona the match.
Mancelona jumped out to a 9-3 early in the fourth game, but Hillman battled back thanks in part to the play of front liners Jensen Tchorzynski, Alissa Jones and Grace Buck.
Tchorzynski led Hillman with 30 kills and 35 digs. Jones added 18 kills, Kalen Tchorzynski had 30 digs and Brice Kenyon had 34 digs.
A block by Buck late in the fourth game knotted the score at 20 and the two sides later fought to a 24-24 tie. Mancelona was able to score the final two points it needed for the win.
The two teams fought each other point for point in the opening game and tied four times after each team had more than 20 points. A pair of kills from Jones gave Hillman a 24-23 lead before Mancelona came back to tie. Jensen Tchorzynski and Jones scored kills for the Hillman over the next several volleys but the Ironmen eventually scored the clinching points when a ball hit the net and the next volley went out of bounds.
The Tigers took an early 8-3 lead in the second game and managed to stay one step ahead of Mancelona to take the second game. Mancelona stormed out to an early lead in the third game, but Hillman refused to give in and battled back to take a 21-20 lead late. The Ironmen scored the next three points before Hillman closed the game on a 5-1 run.
"It was impressive how they battled in every game," Moir said. "Unfortunately we were behind every game so we had to battle back, but they did come together and battle back."
Hillman plays at Atlanta on Monday.