Volleyball heartbreak: Up two sets, Northmen fall to Cadillac
Petoskey senior middle hitter Megan Tompkins (left) spikes the ball as Cadillac senior Lexi Oddy (10) and junior Morgan Kelley (2) attempt the block during Tuesday's Big North Conference match at the Petoskey High School gym. The Northmen fell to the Vikings in five sets. (Steve Foley/News-Review / August 29, 2012)
Both the Cadillac Vikings and Petoskey Northmen can attest to that following Tuesday's key early Big North Conference match at the Petoskey High School gym.
After Petoskey rolled to take the first two sets, 25-19, 25-10, Cadillac battled back to take the next three, 25-20, 25-21, 17-15, earning a hard-fought five-set win, a result that could loom large in terms of league-championship implications.
Cadillac is 10-2 overall, 2-0 league. The Vikings are the defending Big North champions and have won or shared the last six league titles. Last season, they advanced to the Class B state quarterfinals.
Petoskey, which was second in the league a year ago after sharing the conference crown with the Vikings in 2010, moves to 10-2-2, 1-1.
"I'm just amazed," a relieved Cadillac coach Michelle Brines said. "I feel bad for (Petoskey coach) Heather (Miller). It's tough when you feel you have it won and then you don't."
Looking to put the Vikings away in the third set, Petoskey battled back from a 17-13 deficit to tie the game at 20-all.
Following a Cadillac timeout, Petoskey gave the Vikings a point on a passing error and Cadillac went on to take the set by recording the next four points.
From there, momentum seemingly went Cadillac's way through the final two sets.
"It was the end of the third game, it was 20-20 and we made a real silly mental error that would've made it 21-20 our way," Miller said. "Instead, they got the point and I thought that's kind of where we lost that set that would've put us over the edge.
"It we could've taken that third set, obviously we would've taken the match. I thought that was the turning point. We made some silly mental errors and lost it, then Cadillac started out the fourth (set) with a strong serving run and we were constantly trying to dig ourselves out of a hole, which we did to our credit and we didn't give up. We were down and we kept fighting back."
Cadillac jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the fourth set before the Northmen clawed their way back to make it 10-8 before eventually knotting it at 18-all. The Vikings then outscored Petoskey, 7-3, down the stretch -- highlighted by a Katlyn Agren ace -- to force a fifth and final set.
Much like the fourth, Cadillac got off to a strong start in the fifth and took a 5-0 lead behind the strong net play from Selena Golnick and freshman Morgan Briggs. Again, Petoskey would tie the match, this time at 9-all, and seized a 10-9 advantage that eventually grew to 13-10 on a Liz Fraser kill.
But Petoskey couldn't put away the Vikings. Two Northmen attacking errors followed by a Mary-MaRae Baker ace and a Golnick kill gave the Vikings game and match point at, 14-13,
"In the fifth game, we fought back and fought back and scored some points where we don't normally score points," Miller said. "At the end, I thought we were playing not to lose and we were tentative at the net.
"Tipping the ball won't win you games and we became too tentative."
Again, Petoksey came back, tieing it at 15-all on a Megan Tompkins kill, but Cadillac went up 16-15 on a Northmen attacking error, and got the match point from Golnick on a tip at the middle of the net.
"I have no idea how we won that match," Brines said. "We got thumped, drilled in that second game and I thought to myself 'Oh my goodness, when was the last time we only scored 10 points?'
"We could only go up from being down that far and I'm really proud of my team for not giving up. They could've easily just packed it in."