Call it a case of the Mondays.
For the second week in a row, the Alpena volleyball team came out a little flat to begin the week and it cost them on Monday against Gaylord. The Wildcats won the first set, but dropped the next three, 26-24, 25-21, 25-11 and 25-21.
Alpena had previously lost to Sault Ste. Marie on Sept. 16.
“We had quite a few hitting errors again tonight. Mondays seem to be our nemesis,” Alpena coach Melissa Doubek said. “It’s tough coming out and playing a match on a Monday and I’ve seen that the last two Mondays in a row. The hits just weren’t on so that caused quite a few problems and lost points.”
Alpena overcame a 14-7 deficit in the first set to battle point for point with the Blue Devils (4-2) down the stretch. Gaylord took a 23-20 lead after a service error, an attack error and an ace from Sydney Kassuba. After a time out however, Alpena controlled the set, ending it on a 6-1 run.
The Wildcats battled back early in the second set after Gaylord took a 4-0 lead to start. Gaylord held the lead most of the way, with Alpena getting as close as one point, 14-13 at the midway point after a tip from Logan Myers. Myers later helped Alpena rally from a 19-14 hole with a pair of aces to knot the set at 19. Out of a timeout, the Blue Devils got the jump on Alpena and scored the next four points. Maddie Hamilla iced the set for Gaylord after a few more volleys with a kill.
Hamilla had five kills for the Blue Devils and Dakota Pelach had seven kills, three aces, four assists and 14 digs.
Taylor Genschaw led Alpena with eight kills and 12 digs. Myers added seven kills and six aces and Emma Strong had five kills. Lexi Smith added 24 assists and Isabelle O’Neil had 17 digs.
While the first two sets were close, Alpena struggled on both ends of the floor in the final two sets. Alpena’s longest run in either set was four points as the Wildcats struggled to find an offensive groove. Many of the attacks Alpena did attempt either went out of bounds, were short or were blocked and returned.
Despite two aces from Jordan Modrzynski to start the third set, Gaylord seized control early, putting together two five-point streaks and two four-point streaks. Alpena got as close as 6-5 before Kassuba and the Blue Devils worked their way through Alpena’s defense. Already ahead 16-10, Gaylord closed the third set on a 9-1 run, including the last four points.
Since Alpena has struggled the last two Monday’s, Doubek said the team discussed having a weekend practice to avoid any more Monday lulls.
“That’s what we talked about. We’re going to have to drop Fridays and do a Sunday night (practice) because we’ve seen that the last two Mondays in a row,” Doubek said. “We come out with a lot of hitting errors.”
Gaylord didn’t let up in the final set, starting the set on a 5-1 run. Alpena was able to keep the set close for most of the way and the two teams tied five times during the set. After knotting the set at 18, Gaylord finally broke away after coming up with a block on an attack from Modrzynski and kills from Pelach and Tanner Arkfield. Alpena pulled to within three points two different times toward the end of the set, but Gaylord proved to be too strong offensively and won the set and the match.
Alpena plays at Cadillac on Wednesday.
Alpena’s JV team won in three sets, 25-13, 13-25 and 25-18. Lindsey Moggie had three kills, Elise Leeck had five aces and Mary Schimmel had five assists.
The Wildcats’ freshmen team beat Gaylord in three sets, 25-21, 18-25 and 26-24. Katie Mack led Alpena with five aces.
James Andersen can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5694. Follow James on Twitter @ja_alpenanews.