West Iron’s Cassilyn Pellizzer bumps the ball up during district tourney action in Iron Mountain Nov. 1. Teammates (from left) Emilie Christensen, Amy Richardson and Shannon Koski move in to help out.
IRON MOUNTAIN—Consistency problems that dogged West Iron’s volleyball team all season followed the girls here to the Class C District 95 tournament, as the Wykons lost to Norway 3-1 in their semifinal match Nov. 1, ending their season.
The scores were 25-20, 25-13, 16-25, 25-22. The Knights later lost 3-1 to Iron Mountain Nov. 3 in the district title match.
The story of West Iron’s match against Norway followed a familiar plot: The girls had stretches when they played really well and skillfully. But there were also stretches when they struggled, and the Knights didn’t let them get away with it.
Norway got away early in the first set, but West Iron pulled closer on a three-point serving run by Megan Miatech. Moments later, Shannon Koski served in two winners to tie it 13-13. But when Norway got the serve back, Bailey Greyvold fired in six, including four aces, putting the Knights ahead 20-13.
Cassilyn Pellizzer and Emilie Christsensen both served in two to close the gap to 21-19, but Laura Kraemer scored two to wrap up the 25-20 win.
In set two, each of the Knights’ early servers added at least one point to the team total—but no more than one. When Joanna Pellizzer fired in three, the Wykons were within one, at 9-8.
Not for long, though. After Norway won the serve back, Leah Mattson served in two, and threes by both Heather Evosevich and Grayvold built up a 20-10 lead. Aside from Pellizzer’s three, only one other Wykon won a point on serve in the second set.
With Norway ahead 2-0, the teams played role reversal in the third set. Koski got the Wykons off to a great serving in seven straight winners. Norway finally ended her spell and then worked on cutting the lead down to size, finally tying it 12-12.
That’s when Jo Pellizzer got her turn to serve, and she struck for four points, building the lead back up to 17-12. The Wykons stayed out of trouble after that: Koski got the serve back at 20-16 and fired in five to nail down the win. Koski served in 12 points in the third set, including three aces.
WIC’s 25-16 win cut Norway’s lead to 2-1, and the Wykons tried to keep the momentum going in the fourth set. Norway had other ideas: Evosevich’s two put the Knights up 3-2 early, and Dani Gagne’s four, including two aces, made it 9-4. To survive, West Iron had to keep Norway from winning multiple points on serve while cutting into the lead.
They halfway succeeded: The Wykon defense played a strong game for the rest of the match, not allowing any Knight server more than a single. But the Wykons couldn’t take advantage. Two points served by Koski got them to within 14-11, and they stayed about three points behind for quite a while. The set entered its third rotation without the Wykons’ Miatech, who hurt an ankle and had to leave the floor.
After Norway got to 24-18 and served for the match, Christensen’s kill got the serve to Cassilyn Pellizzer, who won points off kills by Christensen and big sister Joanna. Norway called time with its lead down to 24-21. A Norway hit into the net got the Wykons within two, 24-22, but that was WIC’s final reprieve: Gagne blocked down a Wykon shot to finally earn match point.
Coach Brenda Grubbs said the refs told her after the match that she has a good young team. “There’s a lot there.”
It was the final match for seniors Koski, Joanna Pellizzer and Taylor Miilu.