Clutch Maroons chop Braves

GLADSTONE – After dropping the fourth set 25-17 to Gladstone, Menominee head coach Sarah Betzinger’s message to her team was simple.

“I told them that if they want it, they need to come out and grab it,” she said.

The Maroons responded, taking the fifth set 15-13 and winning Tuesday night’s Great Northern Conference volleyball match 3-2 (23-25, 25-19, 25-17, 17-25, 15-13).

Gladstone held the lead for the majority of the first set and held off a Menominee comeback that tied the game at 23-23.

The Braves weren’t as fortunate in the second and third games as Menominee gained momentum off Gladstone’s errors.

“(We) hate to lose this type of match,” said Gladstone head coach Liz Gendron. “We definitely beat ourselves, too many unforced errors, mainly poor serving. We didn’t take advantage of numerous free-balls that were given to us. We need to read and react a lot faster and more efficiently.”

In the third set, the Braves cut Menominee’s lead to 18-16, but the Maroons rattled off three straight points and seven of the next eight to seal the win.

Betzinger said her team came out sluggish in the first set but part of that was due to the Braves’ teamwork.

“They could have woke up a bit and played a little better but Gladstone was tough, they were really good,” Betzinger said. “I’m really impressed by the play and by how well they work as a team and work together. I think my girls could have helped each other out a little more and played a little better.”

The Braves fought off elimination in the fourth game, jumping out to an early lead and taking the set 25-17 to force a fifth game.

“We played a little bit smarter, we kept moving, we ran down the balls that they pushed over,” Gendron said.

Unfortunately for the Braves the improved play didn’t carry over to the fifth set as the Maroons jumped out to a 5-0 start and never reliqunised the lead.

“We got behind in the first part of that fifth set,” Gendron said. “We can’t keep giving teams five points right off the bat.”

With the loss, Gladstone drops to 1-2 in the GNC while Menominee improves to 5-0 in conference play and 13-1 overall.

“Its a good conference win, we needed it to keep our record going and to prove that these girls are definitely capable,” Betzinger said.

Gladstone is back on the court this Thursday as they travel to Stephenson.