2017-10-26 / Sports

Saints Come Back From 2-0 Deficit To Win Over Pickford

By Kevin R. Hess

The St. Ignace Saints gave the home fans their money’s worth as they battled back from a two sets to none deficit to win the next three sets and defeat the Pickford Panthers Thursday, October 19. Pickford started out strong and narrowly defeated the host Saints 25-23 and 26- 24 in the first two sets. The Panthers had St. Ignace on the ropes in the third set, but the Saints held on to win that set 27-25. They carried that momentum into sets three and four, winning each one decisively, 25-15 and 15-6.

Seniors Linnie Gustafson and Keshia Davis were twin towers at the net for the Saints, recording 30 kills and nine blocks between the two of them. Erika Frazier led the team with 47 assists and 37 successful serves. The team had 16 aces, led by Gustafson’s six and Frazier’s four. Defensively, Tara Bunker had 23 digs, and Audrey O’Rourke had 12.

Hosting two home matches and the Straits Area Conference (SAC) tourney this week, Saints head coach Debbie Brandstrom said the team’s goal is simply to get better and improve every day.

“We lost the first two sets against Pickford, but we pulled it together to take the victory,” she said. “We’ve been struggling with communication on the court, but once we start there is no stopping us. We’re looking forward to some tough competition this week and I feel that with hard work, chemistry, trust, and teamwork we have a great chance to win the district tournament.”

Taylor Opolka was strong at the net for the Panthers, smashing 12 kills and blocking nine St. Ignace balls, leading the Panthers in both categories. Darcy Bennin contributed six kills, five blocks and four aces. Tori Thurmes had 10 assists and seven digs to lead the team, and Carley Cottle added eight assists and six digs.

The Saints will host matches against DeTour Wednesday, October 25, and against Cedarville Thursday, October 26 for Parents Night. Both matches begin with junior varsity at 5:30 p.m. The Saints will also host the Straits Area Conference tourney Saturday, October 28. Play begins at 9 a.m.

Pickford will host DeTour Thursday, October 26, at 6 p.m.

St. Ignace Statistics: Erika Frazier, 37 successful serves, four aces, 47 assists; Linnie Gustafson, 18 serves, six aces, 15 kills, six blocks, three digs; Aly Sayles, four serves, six kills; Kiara Bishop, 18 serves, three aces, three kills; Keshia Davis, six serves, two aces, 15 kills, three blocks; Tara Bunker, 11 serves, one ace, 23 digs; Madison Olsen, five kills; Audrey O’Rourke, five serves, 12 digs.

Pickford Statistics: Taylor Opolka, two aces, 12 kills, four digs, nine blocks; Darcy Bennin, four aces, six kills, four digs, five blocks; Tori Thurmes, four aces, five kills, seven digs, 10 assists; Carley Cottle, one ace, two kills, six digs, eight assists; Briana Portice, three kills.

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