Esky offense off, Flivvers roll 3-0

ESCANABA – The Escanaba Eskymos continued to struggle in Great Northern Conference play Tuesday as the Kingsford Flivvers handed them a 25-17, 25-16, 25-22 volleyball loss on Parent’s Night.

“Our offense was off,” said Esky coach Theresa Heidt. “We didn’t get any hits and had nine serving errors, which is nine points right off the top. With our offense being off, it pulled down our confidence.”

That was evident in the first set as the Flivvers took a 13-12 lead on an Esky hitting error.

A kill by Lauren Smith made it 14-12 as Kingsford gradually extended its lead.

The Flivvers carried their momentum over into the second set as they built a 10-4 advantage.

Esky then got a sideout on a kill by junior Emily Dykowski, trimming its deficit to 10-5.

Junior Rebecca Piron followed with an eight-point service run, helping the Eskymos gain a 13-10 lead.

“I’m actually glad that happened,” said Kingsford coach Steve Andrews. “The girls need that adversity to prepare for (Class B) districts. That way they can learn something about themselves. It worked out great.”

The Flivvers indeed responded, getting a sideout on a kill by Maria Wiltzius.

Erika Ellis then added a six-point service run, helping Kingsford gain a 17-13 advantage.

The Eskymos were still within 18-15 following a serving error.

But Wiltzius provided a kill and Smith collected three in a row during a five-point run, giving the Flivvers an insurmountable 23-15 cushion.

In the third set, Esky was within 11-10 following a sideout. But a serving error and a six-point run by Wiltzius enabled Kingsford to extend its cushion to 18-10.

The Eskymos made things interesting down the stretch, pulling within 24-22 on a Flivvers’ net violation. A kill by Wiltzius, however, sealed the verdict moments later.

“We were able to get our subs in, which worked out good,” said Andrews. “That gave our reserves a chance to also see what it’s like to play under duress.”

The Flivvers host Marquette on Senior Night Thursday, then travel to Forest Park and Gladstone next week.

“We still have three tough matches left, which is good heading into districts,” said Andrews.

Senior libero Ashley Cook led Esky with 22 digs and Piron finished with 12 digs and two aces, both during her eight-point run in the second set. Neither had any serving errors.

“Rebecca was totally on tonight,” said Heidt. “She kept us going in the third set, and I still believe Ashley is one of the best liberos in the U.P. She moves to the ball real well. As a team, we seemed to struggle with timing and communication on the floor. We need to learn to keep the ball on our side, which makes it easier to run on offense. We also need to learn how to play with confidence when we’re under pressure.”

Esky hosts Marquette on Senior Night Tuesday and finishes its regular season at Stephenson Oct. 31.

The Esky jayvees won 25-23, 19-25, 25-10 as did the freshmen in three sets.