Prep volleyball; Rockets win two in triangular meet

RAPID RIVER – Sophomore Hannah Kanyuh jumpstarted Rapid River’s offense when needed Tuesday night as the Rockets outlasted the Mid Peninsula Wolverines 3-2 (19-25, 25-17, 25-16, 23-25, 15-10) in the final match of a triangular volleyball meet.

Rapid River topped Big Bay de Noc 3-1 (16-25, 25-17, 25-18, 25-17) in the previous match, with the Black Bears rallying past Mid Pen 3-2 (8-25, 25-20, 18-25, 25-14, 15-2) in the opener.

Kanyuh hit eight straight service points, including four aces, as the Rockets opened an 8-0 advantage in the last set.

“We sure needed those,” said Rockets’ coach Lisa Kanyuh. “I think our girls knew they had to be the first team to five and Hannah’s serving really helped.”

Mid Pen responded in a wild and wooly finale, getting a much-needed sideout and five-point run by senior Kelsey Shope to pull within 8-6.

The Rockets then got a crucial sideout on a kill by senior Savannah Stenlund for a 9-6 lead.

Stenlund got two more kills at crunch time, one for a 13-7 advantage, with her next one clinching the match.

“Savannah really started hitting the ball hard,” said coach Kanyuh. “We knew the fifth set was going to be tough because Mid Pen never rolls over, especially against us. Whenever they’re in trouble, they’re going to tip or send the ball over right away, and you have to adjust accordingly.”

Mid Pen appeared to have the momentum after it won the fourth set on a hitting error, but was unable to carry it over into the fifth.

“Rapid River has some good servers,” said Mid Pen coach Traci Lyle. “Hannah has one of those kinds of serves that dies out on you and Josie (Miller) has a good angle on her serve.

“The girls showed some fight in our second match. They didn’t quit, which is all you can ask for.”

Stenlund collected 12 kills and senior JoEllen Roberts added eight and Miller had four against Mid Pen. Hannah Kanyuh collected 15 assists and sophmore Erika Schwartz added six.

“We have two sophomore setters running our offense and they’re learning,” said coach Kanyuh. “They did a real good job tonight.”

Junior Hunter Branstrom collected nine kills, including one to pull the Wolverines within 13-9 in the final set against Rapid River. She also had three blocks, an assist and three digs. Senior Kelsey Shope added five kills, three aces and nine digs. Classmate Lacey Tryan had 11 digs in each match.

Miller hit eight aces in the meet, including five straight to give the Rockets a 9-4 cushion in the fourth set against Big Bay.

The Black Bears, who trailed by as much as 18-9 in that set, then climbed within 19-15. The Rockets, however, didn’t allow them to get any closer.

Big Bay built an insurmountable 24-13 advantage in the first set, but was unable to carry its momentum into the second.

Rapid River senior Erin Anderson and Roberts collected five kills each and Hannah Kanyuh had six assists against the Black Bears.

“Three-quarters of our team is sick,” said Big Bay coach Gail DeMars. “We had to give the girls more breaks than usual. We had some real good volleys and decent serving. I truly believe our girls were just worn out. I think we would have been more competitive if we were feeling better.”

The Black Bears, however, found a way to overcome that and a two games to one deficit against Mid Pen.

A tip for a kill by junior Patience Harris secured the fourth set for Big Bay. Senior Samantha Sundling then provided the Black Bears with a five-point run for a 9-1 advantage in the fifth and junior Vanessa Damer finished that set with a five-point run.

“The teamwork was there,” said DeMars. “We’ve been working hard on shifting and transitioning. It’s almost like we had to get the first game out of the way.”

Branstrom had nine kills, a block, three aces and a dig in the opener. Shope collected eight kills, a block, an ace and three digs.

Senior Marissa Westlund led the Wolverines on defense with with 13 digs. Elle Lancour added 12 digs, and had a seven-point service run to put Mid Pen up 13-2 in the first set.

The Wolverines then gained a 9-5 lead on a kill by Shope in the second set, but were unable to keep the upper hand.

“We looked like two different teams out there tonight,” said Lyle. “In the first match we had little breakdowns in communication. I also substituted players I normally don’t and I think the girls didn’t know where to go. We sometimes get timid and shut down a little. But once the girls settle in, they play well.”

Rapid River, which also beat Big Bay (25-22, 25-22) and Mid Pen (25-14, 25-10) in the jayvee matches, visits Bark River-Harris Thursday.

Big Bay topped Mid Pen in the remaining jayvee match and hosts Munising Thursday. Mid Pen travels to North Dickinson Thursday.

Mid Peninsula – Branstrom (18 kills, four blocks, three aces, one assist, four digs); Shope (13 kills, one block, four aces, 12 digs); Tryan (two kills, three aces, four assists, 22 digs); Hanson (one kill, five aces, six assists, 12 digs); Lancour (one kill, three aces, 20 digs); Westlund (three aces, six assists, 20 digs); Carlson (one ace, six digs); Cox (one ace, four digs); Hansen (one assist, five digs); Klenow (eight digs); Gudwer (two digs).