By BURT ANGELI
IRON RIVER - Iron Mountain and Ironwood went the distance Tuesday to reach the finals of the Class C District 95 volleyball tournament at Charles Greenlund Gymnasium.
Burt Angeli/The Daily News Photos
Iron Mountain’s Susie Hagan digs out a serve while teammate Marti Pirkola follows the play in Tuesday’s Class C District 95 volleyball tournament at Iron River.
The Mountaineers turned back Norway 3-2 (25-17, 25-19, 19-25, 23-25, 15-12) in the first semifinal while the Red Devils held off tourney host West Iron County 3-2 (14-25, 25-23, 25-23, 20-25, 15-13).
Iron Mountain and Ironwood will clash at 6 p.m. Thursday for the district title and berth in next week's regional at Gladstone.
"The first two games we were moving around and doing a good job of communicating," Iron Mountain Coach Jeanne Newberry said. "We were staying on our toes. In games three and four it was like they had lead feet. They played flat-footed with a lack of communication.
"We really got out of sync."
Kills from jayvee addition Anni Cevigney and Alena Herman helped the Mountaineers snap a 14-14 draw in the first set.
"Having Anni Cevigney added some height to the rotation," said Newberry, noting Anni's sister, Alli, was also there. "They were side by side and it was nice to have them there."
In the second set, Norway rallied to within 20-19 after a Leah Mattson spike and ace serve. Iron Mountain then pulled away with a Herman kill and ace serves from Bri Geyser.
Norway, down 16-14 in the third set, moved ahead 20-16 with Jacey Bal at the serve line. Spikes from Hannah Anderson, Mattson and Paige Sheski also lifted Coach Kayla DeBakker's Knights to the win.
"All night, Norway tipped over us," Newberry noted.
Norway yielded a six-point lead in the fourth set when Herman tallied three kills and two aces serves while Cevigney had a block.
A soft shot from Marti Pirkola gave Iron Mountain a 20-19 lead. Norway turned it around for the victory with Lexi Negro delivering a tip kill.
"Norway picked up the momentum and ran with it," Newberry said. "For some reason, we just played with them.
"Finishing the game is a part of volleyball and we're working on that."
In the final set, Iron Mountain built leads of 5-1 and 11-7 but Norway fought back. Errors hiked Iron Mountain's advantage to 14-12 and Mandy Haferkorn fired a serve down the line to end the match.
"We just couldn't pull it together our first two games," DeBakker said. "We were lacking in communication and nobody was moving to the ball. They knew that they had to do something to change if they wanted to win. Intensity picked up along with our communication and we started to do things right. The fifth set we came out flat and couldn't pick up a serve, but it didn't take us long and we caught right back up. We just couldn't finish."
Mattson's seven kills led Norway. Brenda Casanovsa and Sheski added six each. Bal had 33 digs.
"My girls played with a lot of heart in the end and I couldn't ask for anything more," DeBakker said.
The Mountaineers had been working on line-serving (deep and down the line).
"Mandy is my server that's what she does in practice and that's what she does in games," Newberry said. "It's nice to have a senior back there and we have confidence in her.
"She's been in the game and understands the situation. You couldn't ask for a better person to be on the line."
Herman topped the Mountaineers with 12 kills, followed by Pirkola, nine, and Anni Cevigney, seven. Herman also contributed seven ace serves.
Alli Cevigney notched 14 sets and Geyser had 13. Susie Hagan collected 10 digs.
"Both Alena and Marti had consistent games," Newberry said. "I expect that from them."
Ironwood, runner-up in the Indianhead Conference during the regular season, split weekend tourney matches with West Iron County.
The Wykons, sparked by four straight ace serves from Amelia Richardson, coasted in the first set. West Iron gave up a 10-1 lead in the second set.
Jessica Gering's net play keyed Ironwood down the stretch of the third set. WIC kills from Lauren Hawkins and Sierra Rasmussen narrowed the gap to 24-24 before Gering slammed home the winner.
In the fourth set, a Cassilyn Pellizzer spike provided a 19-17 WIC cushion. Hawkins and Rasmussen followed with two more kills in evening the match.
West Iron, with sophomore Erin Angeli nailing two ace serves, came from five points down to tie the fifth set at 9-9. Kills from Hawkins, Rasmussen and Monica Eagloski plus Megan Eagloski's ace pushed WIC on top 13-10.
Ironwood's Mariah Beaudette then took over with four straight kills and a double-block with Katie Erickson to end the match.
Submitted summaries follow:
Susie Hagan - 10 digs; Alli Cevigney - 14 sets, 3 kills; Marti Pirkola - 4 digs, 9 kills, 2 blocks, 1 ace serve; Bri Geyser - 2 digs, 13 sets, 2 ace serves; Lindsey Tousignant - 1 dig; Alena Herman - 4 digs, 3 sets, 12 kills, 1 block, 7 ace serves; Mandy Haferkorn - 1 dig, 1 ace serve; Cassie Feira - 4 digs, 3 kills, 2 blocks, 2 ace serves; Kristen Gendron - 4 digs, 1 kill, 2 ace serves; Anni Cevigney - 7 kills.
Jacey Bal - 1 ace 33 digs; Brenda Casanova - 8 blocks 1 dig 6 kills; Lexi Negro - 1 ace 4 blocks 21 digs 20 set assists; Hannah Anderson - 1 ace 6 digs 5 kills; Leah Mattson - 1 ace 6 blocks 8 digs 7 kills; Paige Sheski - 1 block 3 digs 6 kills; Lindsey Debernardi - 3 aces 2 blocks 14 digs; Brandi Strong - 3 digs; Lane Broden - 8 digs.