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WIC turns tables on Lady Trojans

IRON RIVER—In first matchup of the season between the Forest Park and West Iron County volleyball teams on Oct. 1, the Lady Trojans took quick command of the match and went on to win the first two sets in convincing fashion.
    Exactly three weeks later, the Wykons turned the tables on their county rivals by snatching early momentum and riding that to a two-set lead.
    While West Iron was able to come back and force a winner-take-all fifth set before falling at Crystal Falls in the first encounter, Forest Park never really gained much traction in the rematch as the Wykons rolled to a surprisingly routine 25-11, 26-24, 25-16 victory at Charles Greenlund Gymnasium on Oct. 22.
    While the teams have the same dual match records (9-4) and appear to be evenly matched, the second contest, other than the second set, was not close. The Wykons continued to make headway in advance of the district tournament with their fourth dual match win in a row, basically dictating play against the Lady Trojans for much of the match.
    “They’re getting it, I really think that’s what it is,” WIC coach Brenda Grubbs said of her team. “They understand the game of volleyball in the fact that it has to start with the pass. And if the pass isn’t to the setter, we can’t set things up.”
    In their loss to FP, the Wykons’ passing was far below standards. In the return match, the Lady Trojans were sidetracked, at least in part, by the same bugaboo.
    “Flat-footed, is that a good word?” FP coach Ana Valesano said. “They were kind of on their heels, not ready to go. We just seemed to be in a little bit of a funk going in.”
    West Iron scored the first five points on the match on three aces from Mya Grubbs and two kills by McKenna Kegley. Forest Park was able to steady itself for a brief spell, pulling into a 9-all tie, helped by two kills, a tip and a block by Mercedes Simmons and two aces by Elaina Perry.
    But the Wykons put the pedal down with an 11-1 run to take a 20-10 lead. Jordan Shamion served an ace, Courtney Reitmeyer recorded a tip and Mya Grubbs posted a kill as West Iron won the opener going away.
    Mya Grubbs said the Wykons have developed a more varied offense recently so that teams can’t overload against her and Reitmeyer as they were able to do earlier in the season.
    “Yeah, we’re able to space out evenly across the board now, like everybody has something,” Grubbs said. “It’s harder to defend and we’re able to execute it now.”
    The Lady Trojans gave themselves a chance to win the second set and put some doubt into West Iron by taking a 24-23 lead on a tip by Simmons. But that’s when Reitmeyer stepped forward to slam the door shut.
    After a missed FP serve, Reitmeyer made an eye-catching block of Simmons to put her team up 25-24 before she finished the Lady Trojans off with a kill to put her team firmly in the driver’s seat.
    Reitmeyer said she turned to the scouting report to help her defend Simmons on arguably the biggest point of the match.

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