FIELD TWP- The North Woods Grizzlies volleyball team averted a first-game collapse and won their first home match of the season on Tuesday by blanking Bigfork, 3-0. North Woods raced to a 7-0 lead at …
FIELD TWP- The North Woods Grizzlies volleyball team averted a first-game collapse and won their first home match of the season on Tuesday by blanking Bigfork, 3-0.
North Woods raced to a 7-0 lead at the outset, stretched the lead to eight at 15-7, and looked to be comfortably in control and on the brink of an easy win at 23-17.
But the Huskies refused to go quietly, stunning the Grizzlies with seven consecutive points, and suddenly it was North Woods staring at a possible loss, trailing 23-24.
Coming out of a time out, Addy Hartway brought the Grizzlies back to even with a kill. Facing a second Bigfork game point, it was Hartway to the rescue again with a scoring slam to midcourt.
With the game tied at 25 and Karah Scofield serving for North Woods, Bigfork saw its rally fizzle with a pair of unforced errors, handing the game to the Grizzlies 27-25.
“We came in super confident and then all of a sudden, out of the blue, we got tentative,” North Woods Head Coach Kandi Olson said. “Once we hit that it was hard to shake. For some reason, they just weren’t communicating like they normally would with each other.”
Skyler Yernatich caught the Huskies by surprise with a flat-footed kill shot to break a 6-6 tie in the second game. A Hannah Kinsey tap down at the net and consecutive errors by Bigfork put North Woods up 11-6. Getting big plays from Morgan Burnett, Tori Olson, and Kinsey, the Grizzlies went on a 14-3 tear to breeze to a 25-9 win.
“We are looking to get her more involved offensively,” Olson said about Burnett. “She’s a senior who’s worked hard throughout several years of play, and she’s going to reap the benefits of that with the way that she’s working now.”
Yernatich displayed her versatility by winning a duel at the net for a score and finessing a little bump shot for another as the Grizzlies opened a 9-5 lead in the third game. That was as close as the Huskies would get, as North Woods got contributions across the board in closing out the match with a 25-14 win.
“Skyler really came together for us tonight in two different ways,” Olson said. “With the flat-footed hitting, we’ve been working on that to get a little more accuracy and choosing her spots better. But she also came together like gangbusters in the back row. She put together some perfect passes that we were able to convert into points, and to have such an offensive and defensive threat was a great asset to us tonight.”
The Grizzlies were scheduled to be on the home court again Thursday for a Parents Night matchup against Mesabi East. Another home match is coming up on Monday against Deer River, and then North Woods hits the road for a Tuesday tilt against Eveleth-Gilbert. All varsity contests start at 7 p.m.