Lady Panthers handle Tawas
TAWAS AREA — Standish-Sterling's volleyball team may have recovered its "mojo" just in time to be a factor in the second half of the NEMC title chase.
Coming off a disastrous weekend at the Oscoda Invitational that included Tawas Area's 25-16, 25-12 win over SSC, the Panthers looked like a new team Wednesday in defeating Tawas in four games, 25-12, 25-16, 20-25, 25-20.
With Ogemaw Heights knocking off previously unbeaten John Glenn, the victory moved the Panthers to within a game of the Falcons and Bobcats for the league's top spot.
"We had a little 'family bonding time' Saturday, and that helped us to regroup," said SSC coach Kristi Yenna. "At the beginning of the season we'd been playing as a team, but when we went to Garber for that tri-meet a couple of weeks ago, we lost that and it hadn't been the same since.
"I'd been feeling like we needed something, but after Saturday I knew it couldn't wait any longer. That seems to have helped."
Even more impressive for SSC was the ability to win without libero Lauren Perrin, who missed the match due to a gym class injury.
"I'd been telling the girls we'd been relying on her too much," Yenna said. "When she's in there sometimes we get lazy, just because we always know she'll be there to bail us out.
"Tonight everyone knew they would have to step up."
The Panthers had little trouble winning the first two games, building big leads as Ellen Walderzak, Cassie Roehm and Kiersten Sanch hammered away at the net.
But Tawas turned things around in the third game as sophomore hitters Molly Stoll and Dana Kolnitys got untracked on the front line, Kayla Wilson turned in a strong serving run and Lydia Kauffman's versatility in both front and back-line play helped the Braves pick up the pace.
Tawas seemed destined to force a fifth game, but after tying Game 4 at 17-17 the Braves made four straight errors, Sanch had a kill and Walderzak served an ace that made it 23-17 and all but wrapped up the match.
"The third game, we didn't attack the way I felt we should," Yenna said. "But we picked it back up in the fourth game.
"It should be a lot easier to get to sleep tonight."
SSC returns to action Oct. 1 at home against Ogemaw Heights, which will be looking to avenge an early-season sweep suffered at the hands of the Panthers that is still the Falcons' lone league loss.
Tawas (2-3 NEMC) is at the Frankenmuth Invitational on Saturday and hosts Whittemore-Prescott on Oct. 1.