OSCODA – The Hale volleyball team played its annual Volley for Cure game at Oscoda Thursday night. The two teams came together to raise funds for the battle against cancer, on a night when the outcome almost seemed secondary.
“It is always just a fun night, and it just shows the girls how important it is to give back to the community,” head coach Toni Nieman said. “I think it is a life lesson for them and they always get me a little teary eyed by honoring me for being a survivor.”
As for the game, the Lady Eagles lost the North Star League crossover battle, 25-4, 25-11 and 25-18.
“I have a very young team right now, experience wise and actually a young team,” Nieman said. “I have two seniors on my team so they are in a constant learning system it seems like. I had one that came up (to varsity) today, so she has never practiced with us, but I needed her and up she came. As far as that goes, it has definitely been a building season, but I graduated six seniors last year.”
The Eagles struggled to get much of anything going in the opening set, falling behind 11-0 and 17-1 before the 25-4 setback.
In the second set, a kill by Abigail Parkinson and an ace by Dalaney Kimmerer helped Hale trail just 10-7, but Oscoda went on a 5-0 run to lead 15-7 and the Eagles could never seriously threaten the rest of the set.
The third set saw Hale take its lone lead of the night, getting a 5-3 edge on a kill by Aurora Brito. A tip by Parkinson kept the Eagles ahead at 9-8 and they led as late as 14-11, before Oscoda stormed back to lead at 17-16 and finished off the set and the match with eight of the final 10 points.
Nieman liked seeing the fight in her squad late into the night.
“They are a resilient team, anything I ask them they try,” she said. “It is constantly let’s try this and see if it works, or let’s try this. They are very go with the flow and as a team is very workable and they want to improve.”
Parkinson led the team with four kills, Kimmerer had one kill, one ace and served three points and Kaitlyn Hollis had four points and six digs.
Hale (2-16-1 overall) was at Alcona on Tuesday, makes the trip to Atlanta on Thursday, is at the Tawas Area Invitational on Saturday and hosts Posen on Tuesday.