HIBBING — Control the net. Control the game.
That’s what the Eveleth-Gilbert High School volleyball team did en route to a 3-2, 21-25, 25-17, 23-25, 25-23, 15-7 over Hibbing Tuesday at the Lincoln Elementary School Gymnasium.
When the Golden Bears needed to make a stand, they did.
“I told the girls they had it in them, and they know they have it in them,” Bittman said. “We dominated the net, and that’s what they did to get the win tonight. That’s our style. That’s how we’ve played all year long.
“That’s what we emphasize — our serving, our dominating the net. Our passing wasn’t as good as it has been this year.”
Hibbing did win game one, but that has been the case in the Bluejackets two previous games against Grand Rapids and Hermantown.
The Thunderhawks and Hawks would win the second set, and eventually, the match.
It looked like the same pattern was going to develop here as the Golden Bears came back to win set two.
“I have to keep preaching the mental toughness,” Peterson said. “A lot of the time, we beat ourselves up inside, then they let it show on the court. It beats us up.”
It looked like things might change in set three as Hibbing took a big lead, but Eveleth-Gilbert fought back.
The Bluejackets hung on to take that 2-1 lead, and with all of the momentum heading into set four, Hibbing was primed to end a 10-game losing streak,
The Golden Bears had plenty to say about that as they held on to win Set 4 by two.
“I give credit to the scramble, and to the way the girls sucked it up and played tough defense,” Bittman said. “I have to give credit to Emily (Kemp) for keeping us in the game. She made a lot of nice saves.”
Set No. 5 was close early on, but Eveleth-Gilbert took a 10-5 lead, then exchanged points as Hibbing couldn’t get anything going offensively.
“We got into a downward spiral of making mistakes and dwelling on them,” Peterson said. “We didn’t move past them. We know that if we make one mistake, we have to earn two points back.
“That’s kind of the deal.”
Bittman had the perfect game plan for the Bluejackets.
“We watched their hitters, and we knew they like to attack cross court,” Bittman said. “Our blockers adjusted nicely. We gave them the line all night, and they didn’t hit. They couldn’t get anything going with their hitting.”
Peterson tried to get her team to hit down the lines, but it never materialized,
“I had to remind them that it was open,” Peterson said. “I keep telling them that. They’re good at listening as to where the spots are open, and they try to hit it there when they can.
“In the heat of the moment, we just want to get it over.”
It was a tough loss, but Peterson noticed some positive things coming out of the match.
“It was a little better,” Peterson said. “I don’t think we got to see fully what our team is capable of, but I’m hopeful that it will happen.”
Hibbing was led by Kylee Huusko with 12 kills, nine digs and five aces; Bailey Broker with eight kills and five blocks; Zoe Kriske with 12 assists; Julia Flaten 11 assists; Lucy Grabrielson three aces and two blocks; and Jerzie Gustafson nine digs.
The Golden Bears were led by Joey Westby with 15 digs; Lauren Lautiger with 14 assists; Anna Westby with four blocks and seven digs; Brooke Thyen 10 kills, six blocks and eight digs; Emily Kemp 12 kills, six assists, seven blocks and three digs; and Kendra Rosati seven digs.
Duluth East 1
HIBBING — The Bluejackets completed their first sweep of the Greyhounds in a number of years, sweeping all four singles matches in the process.
At No. 1 singles, Claire Rewertz beat Isla Pepelnjak, 6-0, 6-0; Megan Bussey took care of Erin Holliday 6-0, 6-2; Merceded Furin downed Ally Johnson 6-2, 6-3; and Aune Boben beat Lilian Kimber 6-2, 6-0.
In doubles, Annika Lundell and Abigail Sullivan beat Taran Dimberio and Ella Johnson 6-2, 6-2; and Bella Vincent and Kasey Jo Renskers downed Sylvie Markha and Norah Powell, 6-3, 2-6, 12-10.
Duluth Easts Marie Holliday and Ella McCarthy beat Heidi Rasch and Opal Valeri 4-6, 6-4, 11-9.
Hibbing 6, Duluth East 1
Singles: No. 1 — Claire Rewertz, H, def. Isla Pepelnjak, 6-0, 6-0; No. 2 — Megan Bussey, H, def. Erin Holliday, 6-0, 6-2; No. 3 — Mercedes Furin, H, def. Ally Johnson, 6-2, 6-3; No. 4 — Aune Boben, H, def. Lillian Kimber, 6-2, 6-0.
Doubles: No. 1 — Annika Lundell-Abigail Sullivan, H, def. Taran Dimberio-Ella Johnson, 6-2, 6-2; No. 2 — Bella Vincent-Kasey Jo Rensker, H, def. Sylvie Markham-Norah Powell, 6-3, 2-6, 12-10; No. 3 — Marie Holliday-Ella McCarthy, DE, def. Heidi Rasch-Opal Valeri, 4-6, 6-4, 11-9.