FP reaches semis at Flivver Invite

CRYSTAL FALLS—Forest Park’s girls volleyball team saw its  first action of the season Aug. 23 when the Trojans took part in the Kingsford Invitational.    The team finished with a 2-2-1 record overall, losing to Kingsford in three sets in the semifinals. The Flivvers won 24-22, 17-21, 17-15.    In pool play, the Lady Trojans were 2-1-1, losing 2-0 to North Dickinson, tying Marquette 1-1 and sweeping both Iron Mountain and Menominee 2-0.    Coach Kim Bjork said the team got off to a slow start but improved as the day went on.   To view more, please log in or subscribe to the digital edition.She said she switched the lineup several times during the day. “Towards the end of pool play, we found a group that worked well together.    “We had opportunities to win in the semifinal but just came up short.” Forest Park hung in there and battled Kingsford into extra points in two sets, but the Flivvers outlasted the Lady Trojans.    “I’m very happy with the effort the girls put out today.”    Stat leaders: Libby Shamion, 15 kills, 6 aces, 4 blocks, 20 digs; Kelsi Hendrickson, 8 aces, 30 digs; Maria Stankewicz, 7 aces, 3 blocks, 68 assists; Michaela Steiro, 17 kills; Susie Toivonen, 21 kills, 6 aces; Adel isaacson, 9 kills, 6 aces, 10 digs; Annie Taylor, 5 kills, 5 digs; Journee Taylor, 5 kills.    The Lady Trojans now can focus on getting ready for the rest of the season, which resumes just after Labor Day. The Lady Trojans visit Bark River-Harris on Sept. 4 and host the Great Eight Invitational on Sept. 6. The first home dual match is Sept. 9 when Mid Peninsula visits.    This is the year after Lexi Gussert’s graduation, and Michigan State’s gain is the Lady Trojans’ loss. While Lexi played varsity, Forest Park’s volleyball team won all four regional titles and reached the state semifinals twice. “She really is irreplaceable,” Coach Bjork admitted.    With Lexi finally out of their hair, you might think the other Skyline Conference teams are licking their chops and rubbing their hands in glee. But not so fast!    The Lady Trojans have several returnees who played major roles on last year’s team, including Maria Stankewicz, Libby Shamion and Adel Isaacson. Other returning letterwinners are Kelsi Hendrickson, Susie Toivonen, Catherine Bloomburg and Kayla Steiro.    Seniors on the team are Isaacson, Hendrickson, Toivonen and Bloomburg. Everyone else is a junior: Stankewicz, Shamion, Steiro, Macey Hammerberg, Joslyn Thoreson, Lauren Williams, Amber Lovato, Hannah Bortolini, Annie Taylor and Journee Taylor.    “I’m excited to see how this group coming up responds and who steps up,” Bjork renmarked. In practice, she said, FP’s hitters have been consistent, and the team has worked a lot on fundamentals.    “It’s always a work in progress, and it is definitely going to be a full team effort this year.”    Stankewicz, a junior, the team’s setter and a returning all-conference player, will be the team’s floor leader “She does a great job running the offense.” Isaacson and Hendrickson split time last year—they should see more action this season. Shamion and Steiro will be strong at the net, backed up by Toivonen.    “We have some great potential in all the other girls,” Coach Bjork said. “It’s just a matter of finding out which ones fit where.”