Forest Park’s Kaitlin Shamion and Lexi Gussert put up a double block as Ewen-Trout Creek’s Zoey McGeshick tries to get a shot past them during district semifinal action at Wakefield Nov. 2.
WAKEFIELD—Forest Park’s volleyball team achieved another of its goals for this season on Nov. 4, winning the championship of the Class D Disrict 127 tournament, held at Wakefield-Marenisco High School.
The Lady Trojans advance to this week’s regional tournament at Baraga High School, starting Tuesday, Nov. 8, when they face Engadine, winner of the Munising district. The full schedule is below.
The team maintained its unbeaten record, which now stands at 33-0-4, including tournament play.
Last week’s district tourney at Wakefield started with an easy 3-0 win over Watersmeet in a first-round match Nov. 1. The scores were 25-6, 25-8, 25-8.
Coach Bjork said her girls “played at a high level throughout the match. It’s nice to see the intensity consistent through every point. There was no letdown.”
Everyone got a lot of playing time. Stat leaders were: Audrey Sholander, three kills, 11 aces; Tanner Bartczak, four kills; Kaitlin Shamion, three aces, 15 assists; Lexi Gussert, six kills, three blocks, two aces; Abby Sommers, two assists; Kendra Campbell, three kills; Mindy DeNell, three assists.
Their semifinal match against Ewen-Trout Creek Nov. 3 wasn’t so easy. The Lady Trojans won a 3-0 sweep, but the scores were closer: 25-14, 25-16, 25-19.
Forest Park came out flat, and the Panthers pounced early in the first set, Zoey McGeshick served in four, and two singles built up a 12-6 Panthers lead. It was gone just as suddenly: Bartczak served in five, Cornelia followed with four and Shamion powered in seven, with two aces.
FP had outscored the Panthers 19-2 after ETC’s early lead, and Coach Bjork later explained why she didn’t call time. “Sometimes I like to see how they respond. I want them to start responding on the floor to adversity whenever it comes up. But they’re still high school kids.”
The Panthers, she said, “were scrappy—they were all over the floor.”
In the second set, Shamion struck for five early, and the Panthers never got within three after that. The third set started with three from Cornelia and four from Shamion for an early 9-2 lead. The Panthers rallied to within one point, but three by Sholander and two from DeNell built up a 17-10 lead.
Gussert fired some jump serve aces to end the match, but Bjork later talked about some of her other stats—13 kills, four blocks, four digs. “A great match at the net.”
Other FP stats: Sholander, nine kills, four digs, two aces; Shamion, five aces, 27 assists; Bartczak, six kills; DeNell, three digs, two kills, two assists; Cornelia, three aces, two digs.
The Panthers played well, and Bjork said they did a nice job covering the floor. “We just couldn’t get into a good rhythm. We struggled defensively, especially our passing.”
In the finals, they took on Bessemer, which eliminated Wakefield-Marenisco 3-0 in the first semifinal. Just a day after their slow start against ETC, the Lady Trojans came out strong against the Speedgirls and won 3-0 on scores of 25-5, 25-11 and 25-9.
“A great match,” said Coach Bjork. “We were moving and covering the floor the entire match. Everyone contributed, and our net play was excellent.
“A solid performance. I’m proud of our girls.”
Tops in the stats: Cornelia, four aces, two digs; Gussert, eight kills, four blocks, five digs; DeNell, five kills, three digs; Bartczak, five kills, three blocks; Shamion, five aces, 25 assists; and Sholander, seven kills, four aces, two digs.
• The Trojans head for Baraga and the regional tournament this week. They face Engadine at 5 p.m. Central Time (6 p.m. Eastern) on Nov. 8 in the first semifinal match.
The winner of that one takes on the winner of the Lake Linden-North Dickinson semifinal on Thursday, Nov. 10, at 5 p.m. Central Time for the regional trophy and a spot at the Class D state quarterfinal match Nov. 15 at Manistique High School.