Bucks earn league win over Marion

LEROY – It took awhile at times for Pine River to throw that knockout punch against the Marion Eagles Tuesday night (Sept. 27).

But the Bucks still got the job done and scored a 25-14, 25-21, 25-19 Highland Conference volleyball victory.

Pine River fired out to a 12-6 lead in the second game but the score was tied 18-18 before the Bucks were able to pull away. The hosts fired out to a 13-1 lead in the third game but Marion hung around to cut it to a five-point deficit later on 22-18.

“We were really up and down, like a roller coaster,” Pine River coach Jana Dennis said. “We get real quiet and stopped communicating. It’s still a work in progress.”

Chelsea Nelson’s jump serve produced the 25th point in the first game. In the second, she started out with three straight points for a 3-0 lead and had a tip for a 13-8 lead. Marion tied it at 18-18. A service ace by Sheena Vokes put the Bucks up 20-18. Consecutive kills by Cayman Gatt and Jamie Justin gave the Bucks a 23-18 advantage.

Nelson served the Bucks to a 4-0 lead in the third game. It was 4-1 and Vokes served for nine straight points. When the hosts narrowed it to 22-18, Erica Buchner picked up a kill. Jessica Hoaglund followed with a kill for the Bucks.

“I think we get too content with playing and not playing to win,” Dennis said.

“There are some things we need to work on,” Vokes said. “Our communication skills and our serve receive wasn’t too good. But we won so we played pretty good.”

“We played pretty good but we had a bunch of little mistakes,” Hoaglund said. “We lost focus a little bit. We need to work on staying focused and not playing down to the other team.”

Hoaglund, Nelson and Vokes are three seniors on the team.

“They’re very important to our team,” Dennis said.

For the Bucks, Chelsea Nelson was credited with 23 assists, six aces and three kills while Gatt contributed 12 digs and seven kills; Hoaglund totaled nine kills, four blocks and five digs and Kassy Nelson had 15 digs.

“Most parts of our game were solid tonight,” Dennis said. “We still need to work on certain skills but I’m confident that these skills will continue to improve. Overall, it was a job well done.”

It was a little tougher on Saturday with Pine River going 1-2-1 at the McBain tournament. In pool play, the Bucks split with McBain 19-25, 25-21, lost to Mount Pleasant 25-14, 25-22 and swept Harrison 25-16 25-15. Pine River lost to Mount Pleasant 26-24, 25-18 in the quarterfinals.

For Pine River, Chelsea Nelson had 55 assists, 31 digs and nine kills, Jamie Justin added 13 kills, seven digs and five blocks, Cayman Gatt had 17 kills and 17 digs and Kassy Nelson added 36 digs and five kills.

“We just couldn’t get all our cylinders firing today,” Dennis said. “The girls seemed sluggish at times and we just struggled getting into a good tempo. We had some good rallies today and the girls never gave up. I thought during our first game of quarterfinals against Mount Pleasant that things were turning around for us. We played our best ball during that match.

“Unfortunately, we had a few too many errors late in the game and it just didn’t go our way. Key for us right now is to learn from today and prevent it from happening again.”

Pine River is 26-8-1.