Clutch Flivvers stifle Braves

GLADSTONE – There has been little separating the Gladstone and Kingsford volleyball teams this season, but unfortunately for the Braves, the Flivvers have been able to make the plays down the stretch.

After knocking off Gladstone (26-15) in five matches earlier this month, the Flivvers capped off their regular season edging the Braves 3-1 (25-23, 21-25, 25-17, 28-26) on Thursday.

“Anytime we play Gladstone you don’t know what’s coming,” said Kingsford’s head coach Steve Andrews. “You could go five, you could go three, you know it’s a war. I’m happy we won but it’s really kind of meaningless because Monday’s the big one.”

The Braves won’t have to wait long for a shot at revenge as they host Kingsford (25-12) on Monday in their district opener. Head coach Liz Gendron said her team will have to play a cleaner match if they want a shot of advancing past the Flivvers.

“We had 42 hitting errors so that’s three sets right there and that pretty much sums it up,” Gendron said. “When you have that many errors you’re not going to win a game. You beat yourselves and that’s the hardest game to lose, when you beat yourself.”

Neither team could find much separation from the other, as all the games went down to the wire, with the exception of Kingsford’s 25-17 win in the third set.

Andrews said he was happy with how his team attacked the net and contested the Braves attempts, noting that his younger players are improving each match.

“They’re athletic and quick and so they read the ball and they’re attacking,” he said. “It gets better everyday and I was pleased with net play, we got a lot of touches. Even if it wasn’t a block, we got a touch and took some speed off it.”

The Braves appeared to find a crack in the Flivvers defense towards the end of the fourth set as Lexi Hongisto connected on three kills during the last four point stretch.

“When we have the ability to run a quick hitter, that’s what we did and it opened the outside right up,” Gendron said. “Jessica (Beaudry) and Lexi had plenty of one-on-one’s against their outside blockers, they just weren’t putting the ball down like they should be doing.”

Andrews said his team is happy with the win but they won’t celebrate long because starting Monday it’s a new season.

“I know come Monday it could go the other way and it’s going to be a totally different intensity,” he said. “You forget what happened in the regular season, it doesn’t matter. It’s a great volleyball rivalry, we love it, I can’t imagine not playing Gladstone.”

Kingsford swept Gladstone in the jayvee game 2-0, as the Flivvers won the GNC junior varsity title.