IRON RIVER—A match with massive momentum moves ended when Ironwood finished strong Nov. 5, eliminating West Iron County 3-2 in a Class C District 95 semifinal match here. The set scores were 14-25, 25-23, 25-23, 20-25 and 15-13.
The loss ended the Wykons’ season.
Meanwhile, the Red Devils had a much easier time in the district title match Nov. 7, defeating Iron Mountain 3-0. Ironwood advances to this week’s Class C regional tournament in Gladstone.
The match started well for the Wykons. India Schindler’s six-point serving string got West Iron off on the right foot in set one, and four from Amy Richardson later boosted West Iron to a comfortable win in set one.
When Schindler started the second set with five winners and Richardson followed with four, the Wykons were ahead 10-1. But that’s when momentum abandoned West Iron.
Ironwood’s Katie Erickson served in four, and a pair of twos tied the score 13-13. Next up was Jessica Gering, who fired seven winners. After being behind 10-1, Ironwood won 20 of the next 25 points to lead 21-15.
Abbie Grubbs’ three-point spell got the Wykons within one, 23-22, but Ironwood won the big points at the end. Bad serves hurt West Iron: Three girls took serve and immediately gave the ball back.
Both teams struggled on serve in the third set. Four lead changes: WIC led 4-3, then trailed 6-9, then led 10-9. Four from Megan Eagloski put the Wykons ahead 17-12, but Ironwood’s Mariah Beaudette came back for four, and Allie Clemens followed with three. That put Ironwood up 24-21, and a side-out later, the Red Devils had a 2-1 lead.
The Wykons fixed their serving problems in the fourth set (only one bad one) and led 8-2 early. But early leads didn’t last long in this match: Ironwood caught up, then went ahead 15-12. This time, though, WIC’s Richardson came back with three for an 18-16 Wykon lead, and WIC’s defense, especially Cassi Pellizzer and Sierra Rasmussen, kept them in front the rest of the way.
That 25-20 win tied the match 2-2 and forced a 15-point fifth set to decide a winner.
Ironwood came out fast. Emily DiGiorgio served the first four points, as the Red Devils built up a 9-4 lead—six away from the win. But Erin Angeli, just up from Wykons’ JV team and serving for the first time in the match, fired four winners, including two aces, tying the match at 9-9. Next, Eagloski connected for three.
That put West Iron in front 13-10—two points from winning the match and advancing to the finals. But it didn’t happen.
Ironwood’s DiGiorgio fired a kill down the sideline to win back the ball. Now DiGregorio did the serving, and Beaudette did the rest. She blocked Rasmussen, then got a kill that tied the match 13-13 and forcing a Wykon time-out.
A block got Ironwood one point away from the win, and the Red Devils got that point on another Beaudette kill.
“Ironwood’s a strong young team,” Coach Brenda Grubbs said after the match.
About her girls, “Everybody played so well at their time. They stepped up. I don’t think there’s anybody hanging their head about their play. “ It was the final match for seniors Pellizzer, Richardson, Schindler, Grubbs, Eagloski and Dallas Foley,