Forest Park’s Lexi Gussert winds up for a big hit during regional tournament competition at Kingsford on Nov. 8. Nearby are Gina Graff and Maria Stankewicz (6).
CRYSTAL FALLS—All good things come to an end. For Forest Park’s volleyball team, the end came Nov, 13 at Manistique.
Playing in the Class D quarterfinals, the Lady Trojans were swept away 3-0 by Onaway. The scores were 25-17, 25-10, 25-13.
“We had a bad night,” Coach Kim Bjork reported, “and it’s too bad it had to happen tonight.
Too good: The Cardinals prevailed in the opening set, building up a 14-7 lead. The Lady Trojans battled back and closed the gap to 18-16, but Onaway got the big side-out and soon won the set.
The Cardinals went from there to take a quick 8-0 lead in the second set, and it was smooth sailing after that.
Down two sets, the Lady Trojans started well in the third set and led 10-9. But a violation gave Onaway the serve, and they struck for six and a 16-10 lead. Before long, the Cardinals had the win and a date in Battle Creek for the semifinals.
Top defense: “Onaway has a good team,” said Bjork. “They didn’t let anything hit the floor.” She said the Cardinals showed the best defense her team had seen all year.
“Onaway didn’t make mistakes, and we made too many. Mental mistakes hurt us tonight.”
Junior middle hitter Lexi Gussert, the brightest star on the Lady Trojans, was largely neutralized at the net, limited to nine kills and two blocks.
Gussert contributed in other ways, with 19 digs and three aces, but no other Trojan could manage more than two kills (Mindy DeNell and Maria Stankewicz).
Numbers: That gets back to something Coach Bjork has feared all season—an opponent that can keep Gussert under control. That’s what happened against Onaway.
Other stat leaders were Gina Graff with 23 digs, DeNell with 18, Sam Nylund with eight and Stankiewicz with seven.
DeNell had two aces, and Stankewicz had 10 assists. The Trojans finish their season with an overall record of 31-4-3 (including tournament play).
Trojan pride: “I’m proud of our girls for the season they had,” the coach said. “We are a young team, and we will grow from this experience.
“Our seniors will be missed, but they have a lot to be proud of as FP volleyball players.”