CRYSTAL FALLS—Forest Park’s volleyball team started its season at the Kingsford Invitational Aug. 24, but the Lady Trojans had an unusually short day.
The team finished with a record of 1-1-2 and did not advance beyond pool play. Scores were not available.
“This was a big eye-opener for us,” commented Coach Kim Bjork later. “We definitely have some things to work on.”
She said the team’s communication and movement on the floor was lacking. “We didn’t play with any energy,” Bjork said. “I didn’t expect that to be an issue for us, but it was.”
When the players moved to the ball, she added, they passed well.
Statistical leaders were Lexi Gussert with 19 kills and 18 digs; Hannah Marinoff with 13 digs; Maria Stankewicz with 30 assists, six aces and 14 digs; Kendra Campbell with eight kills and 13 digs; Libby Shamion with seven kills and 20 digs; Kelsie Hendrickson with 10 digs; Susie Toivonen with five digs; and Adel Isaacson with five assists.
• The Lady Trojans, of course, won district and regional championships again last fall, ending their season at the state quarterfinals to Onaway. They were 12-0 in the Skyline Conference and 36-1-4 overall.
The team boasts six returning letter-winners from last year: seniors Campbell, Gussert and Marinoff and sophomores Stankewicz, Michaela Steiro and Shamion.
Add to that core several incoming juniors “who should make an impact right away,” including Hendrickson, Toivonen, Catherine Bloomburg and Mary Grandahl.
Coach Bjork said she is happy with her team’s dynamic. “We don’t have a lot of girls, but have a well-rounded group,” she said.
Like every year, she noted. the team has to get into “volleyball mode” and work hard. “We should have a good season if we stay focused.”
Gussert was voted to the all-state second team last year. She was a unanimous pick as Skyline Conference most valuable player as a junior, and Stankewicz was voted to the Skyline second team as a freshman.
Other key members of last year’s team, Gina Graff and Mindy DeNell, graduated last spring.
• Forest Park returns to action Aug. 29 at Carney-Nadeau. The team makes its home debut on Sept. 5 vs. Bark River-Harris.