2017-11-09 / Sports

Saints Win District Volleyball Championship at Harbor Springs; Next, Regionals

By Kevin R. Hess


At left: The St. Ignace Saints won the District 93 championship at Harbor Springs, Friday, November 3. They defeated Harbor Springs in three sets in their round one matchup, and the Inland Lakes Bulldogs in five sets for the championship. The team is pictured here with their district championship trophy. Team members are: (back row, from left): Head Coach Debbie Brandstrom, Heather Lamb, Linnie Gustafson, Kaeli Nelson, Tessa Shepard, Audrey O’Rourke, Aly Sayles, Sarah Lamb, Madison Olsen; (front) Tara Bunker, Erika Frazier, Keshia Davis, Kiara Bishop, Annie Steel, Courtney Frazier, and Assistant Coach Nikki Martin. (Photograph provided by Debbie Brandstrom) At left: The St. Ignace Saints won the District 93 championship at Harbor Springs, Friday, November 3. They defeated Harbor Springs in three sets in their round one matchup, and the Inland Lakes Bulldogs in five sets for the championship. The team is pictured here with their district championship trophy. Team members are: (back row, from left): Head Coach Debbie Brandstrom, Heather Lamb, Linnie Gustafson, Kaeli Nelson, Tessa Shepard, Audrey O’Rourke, Aly Sayles, Sarah Lamb, Madison Olsen; (front) Tara Bunker, Erika Frazier, Keshia Davis, Kiara Bishop, Annie Steel, Courtney Frazier, and Assistant Coach Nikki Martin. (Photograph provided by Debbie Brandstrom) The St. Ignace Saints volleyball team defeated the Inland Lakes Bulldogs in five sets to win the District Championship in Harbor Springs Friday, November 3. This is their first district championship since 2013.

The two teams had played each other earlier in the season, with Inland Lakes coming out with the victory. The Saints were determined to get a different outcome this time around, knowing that they are a better team now than they were then. The Saints showed heart and determination in fighting back from a deficit to win the decisive fifth set and claim the district crown.

The teams traded sets through the first four as Inland Lakes won sets one and three, and the Saints won sets two and four. After losing the first set 25-18, the Saints bounced back with a big win in a tightly contested second set, 25-23. The Bulldogs took set three 25-18 with a chance to win the district championship in set four. The Saints rebounded, however, and responded with a strong performance, winning 25-16 and tying the match at two sets apiece. The Saints had the momentum and carried it into the fifth set tiebreaker, winning 15-10 to capture the title.

“We played outstanding against Inland Lakes,” said Saints Head Coach Deb Brandstrom. “The girls played with toughness and determination. They kept fighting to the end of the fifth set.”

As has been the case all season, seniors Keshia Davis and Linnie Gustafson were strong at the net, combining for 25 kills and 12 blocks. Senior Erika Frazier recorded 36 assists, and senior Tara Bunker led the team with 24 digs. Coach Brandstrom says the team is peaking at the right time, having played their best matches in the past two weeks. With the tournament starting, the team has added a few players from the junior varsity squad who are contributing significantly, both in practice and during the matches.

“I’m glad to see my players realize that we are a team and we need to continue to support one another,” said Coach Brandstrom. “During tournament time, some players do not get the same amount of game time as they did in the regular season, but the way they contribute in practice and from the bench really makes a difference.”

The Saints were in the district final after winning their opening match against Harbor Springs Wednesday, November 1. St. Ignace won in three sets, 25-13, 26-24, and 25-22. Coach Brandstrom wasn’t sure what to expect in their first round match because they had not played Harbor Springs during the season or in any of the tournaments. The Saints came out ready to play and won the match in straight sets. After dominating the first set, Harbor Springs battled back and took St. Ignace to extra points in set two. The Saints were able to prevail, however, and took that momentum into set three to finish the sweep.

Gustafson had 11 kills and Davis had eight. Frazier led the team with 28 assists and Bunker led the team with 14 digs. Heather and Sarah Lamb saw their first varsity action and contributed nine combined digs.

“I am proud of every one of the girls on the team,” said Coach Brandstrom. “They are working together and willing to do whatever it takes to continue to become a better, stronger team.”

The Saints advance to the Gladstone regional and will face Calumet Tuesday, November 7 at 6:30 p.m. The winner of that match will face the winner of West Iron County and Ishpeming Westwood Thursday, November 9.

Saints Statistics v. Inland Lakes

Erika Frazier, 14 serves, 36 assists, six digs; Linnie Gustafson, 15 serves, two aces, 10 kills, nine blocks; Keshia Davis, six serves, one ace, 15 kills, three blocks; Kiara Bishop, 23 serves, three aces, two kills, three blocks; Annie Steel, eight serves, one kill, one block, six digs; Madison Olsen, one kill, one block, one dig; Audrey O’Rourke, eight serves, nine digs; Tara Bunker, 24 digs; Heather Lamb, five serves, one ace, one kill, five digs; Sarah Lamb, seven serves, two aces, eight digs.

Saints Statistics v. Harbor Springs

Erika Frazier, 11 serves, one ace, 28 assists; Linnie Gustafson, 15 serves, four aces, 11 kills, one block; Keshia Davis, nine serves, one ace, eight kills, two blocks; Kiara Bishop, two serves, two kills, one block, one dig; Annie Steel, nine serves, two aces, one kill, one block, three digs; Madison Olsen, five kills, one block; Audrey O’Rourke, three serves, five digs; Tara Bunker, 14 digs; Heather Lamb, two serves, five kills, one dig; Sarah Lamb, two serves, four digs.

Return to top


Click here for digital edition
2017-11-09 digital edition