Chips fall to Falcons in four

Manistee’s Emily Thompson (left) tips the ball past Pentwater’s Taylor Wilkinson on Tuesday during the Chippewas’ loss to the Falcons. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

Manistee’s Emily Thompson (left) tips the ball past Pentwater’s Taylor Wilkinson on Tuesday during the Chippewas’ loss to the Falcons. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — On the brink of being swept by Pentwater, Manistee turned around and dominated the third set Tuesday in its regular-season home finale.

The Chippewas couldn’t sustain the rally, however, and fell to the Falcons 25-17, 25-17, 9-25, 25-20.

Manistee has had trouble with Pentwater this season as Tuesday’s result marked its third setback in as many meetings. Coach Lacey Hudson, however, may have found a new wrinkle to add to the Chippewas’ rotation.

“We switched some things up (in the third set),” she said of having senior Stephanie Johnson switch into the libero jersey. “I made a change at libero and she had a star performance tonight; Stephanie Johnson played amazing.

“More than anything it was because she hurt her thumb,” Hudson added.  “She’s usually my back row setter, so I wanted her to be able to pass a little more than set (with a sore thumb). It was actually more (assistant) coach (Jody) Powell’s idea, and it worked out.”

Prior to the spark in the third set, the Chippewas dropped the opening pair by the exact same score. Pentwater held on after pulling away early in the first set, and never looked back after breaking a 9-9 tie in the second.

Johnson made her libero debut in Game 3, and started Manistee off strong from the service line with five straight points. The Chippewas cruised from there to force a fourth set.

Johnson led the team in aces with three to go with 15 digs while Emily Thompson had a team-high seven kills with 11 digs and Kayla Jamieson added five kills.

“(Johnson) lights up the back row,” Hudson said. “She talks to everybody, keeps everybody motivated, and it got everybody calling passes and moving. That’s what was key to that game.”

The teams played point for point for the first half of what proved to be the final game, but Pentwater’s Chyanne Smith served up five straight points to distance the Falcons with a 21-14 lead.

Manistee began chipping away at the deficit, and brought it to within striking distance at 23-20, but a late Pentwater timeout preceded its final two points for the win.

“Toward the end we really started to pick it up, which was great to see,” Hudson said of the rally that fell short. “The last game was a nail-biter, so it was fun to be a part of.”

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Posted by Dylan Savela

Dylan is the county reporter for the News Advocate, he also is in charge of the Small Town Life, religion and senior pages. He can be reached at (231) 398-3111 or dsavela@pioneergroup.com.

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