The Alpena volleyball team's last regular season game and "Parents Night" celebration saw the Wildcats run up against the hard spikes of Cadillac's Selina Golnick and Morgan Briggs on Wednesday in a three set loss, 25-18, 25-12 and 25-14.
In spite of the loss, Alpena coach Melissa Doubek saw evidence of strong defensive play in her young team.
"I thought we were digging pretty well. The young blockers still got to work on defending the quick attacks. They are young and we did have some blocks, but that's something they got to work on," Doubek said.
News Photo by Eric Benac
Mikaela Overton (3) of Alpena bumps the ball while teammate Isabelle O’Neil gets into position in a “Parents Night” match up against Cadillac.
Both sides played close to open the first set. Alpena players like Logan Myers and Taylor Genschaw led the attack offensively and defensively against the Vikings while Emma Strong and Ellie Wedge threw up blocks to throw the Vikings off guard.
Myers picked up six kills and 17 digs. Genschaw had six kills and 11 digs. Isabelle O'Neil contributed six digs for the night. Strong had two blocks while Wedge had one. Jordan Modrzynski had four kills.
Cadillac broke a 5-5 tie and took a 12-5 lead by serving for seven straight points. Key to this streak were the serves of Elizabeth Whitley, who picked up an ace and the spikes of Golnick and Briggs. Both attacked with hard hit spikes that the Wildcats struggled to dig.
The Vikings continued to pull ahead, although the Wildcats kept many of their attacks in check. There were several very close volleys that could have gone Alpena's way, but Cadillac consistently scored.
"There were some really good volleys in this match. There were some great volleys, even though we might not have come up on the winning end of them, the kids were working hard and digging up the ball and trying lots of different offensive plays," Doubek said.
Alpena started the second set even with Cadillac, staying within a point or two to trail 7-6. Alexis Smith set up several Brianna Clark spikes, but Cadillac started scoring in two and three point bunches to pull ahead.
Clark had three kills for the night while Smith had 22 assists and 11 digs. Olivia Cordes contributed seven digs.
With a 11-9 lead, the Vikings took six straight points and a 17-9 lead. Golnick alternated tips and spikes during the serves of Briggs.
Alpena fought to a 18-10 deficit, but the Vikings picked up six straight points for a 23-10 lead. Alpena fought for and gained a few extra points, but the hole proved to be too deep.
The Wildcats rebounded in the third set, once again keeping pace with the Vikings for the first several points. The Wildcats scrambled to a 9-8 lead, one of the few times it led during the match.
"Logan and Taylor hit really well tonight. Emma has been working through an injury, so it took her out of the game a little bit, but the younger kids did a really good job of stepping up," Doubek said.
The Wildcats held onto a 10-9 lead, but the Vikings streaked ahead 13-10. Alpena narrowed the lead to 13-12, but Cadillac took advantage of a few errors and aggressive spikes by Golnick to pull ahead for good.
Alpena hosts a district matchup at 6 p.m. against Traverse City West on Monday.
Eric Benac can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5690. Follow Eric on Twitter @EricBenac.