Standish ladies tops NEMC foe
Standish-Sterling 3, at Ogemaw Heights 0
OGEMAW HEIGHTS — If the Standish-Sterling volleyball team wanted to make a statement that last year's breakout season was no fluke, Wednesday's three-game sweep of defending league champion Ogemaw Heights certainly did the job.
The Falcons, struggling to adjust to an injury to key senior Jacie Lucas, had a shot at winning the first of the three sets, but the Panthers were otherwise in control throughout their 26-24, 25-19, 25-17 sweep in what was the North East Michigan Conference opener for both teams.
"The kids definitely saw Ogemaw as a challenge," said SSC coach Kristi Yenna, who this year accepted a teaching position at Ogemaw Heights. "They're the defending champs, and even though they have a lot of new players we figured they'd be out for us after (SSC beat the Falcons at) districts last year.
"I don't think they were at the top of their game, though, and that helped us. We thought they'd keep coming at us, even when we got a big lead in that last game."
The Falcons seemed to adjust to the loss of Lucas, who was injured Monday at Whittemore-Prescott, fairly well in the opening game. Ogemaw fought back from a 20-16 deficit to tie it at 24-24, but the Panthers' Ellen Walderzak finished it off with consecutive kills in what turned out to be the best-contested game of the night.
"We had a tough night in the passing department," said Falcon coach Diane Gillette. "We struggled to get the ball up to the setter, which took our hitters out of the game.
"The girls have worked hard this week on passing and I hope to see improvement. It is still very early in the season and I am confident they will pull it together."
Jorie Lucas had a tip, a kill and consecutive aces as the Falcons took an 8-4 lead in the middle set, but the Falcons made errors on three consecutive play, and the SSC offense got untracked. Cassandra Roehm had a pair of kills -- along with several Ogemaw hits that went long during a 10-3 SSC run that made it 19-12. Kills by Kalena Franklin and Emily Sheltrown trimmed it to 21-16, but the Falcons could get no closer.
The Falcons took a 7-3 lead in the final game, but SSC went on a 21-8 run and never led by fewer than five points after taking a 17-12 lead.
Ogemaw (5-3-3, 0-1 NEMC) faces another key league match at Pinconning on Sept. 3, while Standish-Sterling (1-0 NEMC) hosts Whittemore-Prescott.
Ogemaw stats: Jorie Lucas 5 kills, 20 digs, 2 aces; Lauren Gillette 5 kills, 13 assists; Angela Carollo 6 kills, 15 digs; Emily Sheltrown 8 kills, 18 digs.