Forest Park libero Gina Graff moves in to take a shot during the Lady Trojans’ match with Carney-Nadeau Aug. 21. Teammates nearby (from left) are Kendra Campbell, Lexi Gussert, Mindy DeNell, Maria Stankewicz and Abby Sommers.
CRYSTAL FALLS—The home fans saw Forest Park’s volleyball team for the first time Aug. 23 in a 3-0 win over Carney-Nadeau.
The Lady Trojans seemed sharp in the first set but struggled at times after that. Scores: 25-11, 25-21, 25-11.
Vs. Carney: “It was a slow-paced match,” said Coach Kim Bjork, “and we had difficulty staying focused at times.” She said the girls played at Carney’s speed—not what a strong squad wants to do. “We’re in an in-between zone,” said the coach, “where we don’t want to control the tempo all the time.”
The Lady Trojans breezed through set one (Sam Nylund, three aces) but lost the lead three times in the second set. Gina Graff’s two-point serving spell put FP ahead for keeps, and Abby Sommers followed with four to put it away.
In the third set, FP broke away 14-7 on Maria Stankewicz’s six-point turn (four aces plus Mindy DeNell’s well-placed kill). Carney was done after that. Later, DeNell added four (with two aces).
Plenty of attack errors by both sides. First match of the season. It’s early—the girls are still learning their best shots. “We’re trying to set up our front row and improve on our passes,” said the coach. “We’re just not there yet.”
Numbers: Lexi Gussert, 9 kills, 4 blocks; Gina Graff, two digs; Maria Stankewicz, 5 aces, 17 ast; Sam Nylund, 2k, 3a; Kendra Campbell, 2a; Mindy DeNell, 4k, 2a.
At Kingsford: The Lady Trojans started their season Aug. 18 at the Kingsford Invitational, where they reached the semifinals.
The team went 2-2-1 at the meet. In pool play, they went 2-0 over Marquette and North Dickinson; split 1-1 vs. Iron Mountain; and lost 0-2 to Calumet. In the semifinals, Kingsford won in three sets.
“Our biggest downfall was unforced errors,” Bjork said. “We gave up too many points, especially at crucial times in matches.”
Despite the youth and inexperience, “I see a lot of potential in this group of girls.” No stats available.
Coming up: The Great Eight Tourney in Kingsford was Aug. 25. The team visits Bark River-Harris Aug. 30 and hosts Mid Peninsula Sept. 4.