STANDISH – Gladwin traveled to Standish last week for the Division 2 District Tournament where the Flying G’s faced Chippewa Hills in the first round on Wednesday night. The first set went back and forth with Chippewa Hills jumping out to a small early lead before Gladwin tied the score at 5-5 and went on to take a 25-20 win.
The second set was also close early with Gladwin leading 12-11 when Delaney Reynolds came up to serve. She went on a run scoring 12 straight points. As Gladwin’s confidence grew they forced the Warriors into multiple mistakes and ultimately won the second set 25-12. At that point it looked like Gladwin was heading for a straight set win, but Chippewa Hills fought back to take the third set 25-21.
Gladwin got rolling again in the fourth set winning it 25-14 and taking the match 3-1. Taylor Vasher led Gladwin with 13 kills and 20 digs. Erin Breault had 11 kills and 13 digs while Renae Parrett added 7 kills and 14 digs and Delaney Reynolds had 30 assists.
The win over Chippewa Hills set up a rematch with Clare on Thursday night. The schools had already played twice this year during the Jack Pine Conference season and had met in the district championship last season. This was also the fifth year in a row that the Flying G’s were competing in the district finals and considering that they had only two players with playoff experience, Taylor Vasher and Renae Parrett; it was a nice accomplishment.
Gladwin knew going in that the Pioneers were going to be tough. They had won both prior matches this season and finished second in the conference. Gladwin may have been feeling some pressure early as Clare jumped out to a six-point lead before eventually losing 25-20. Gladwin regrouped and played much better in the second set. “I was happy with our aggressiveness in the second set,” said Coach Tony Wetmore. That aggressive play lead to a 25-19 Gladwin win.
Clare is a good team and pressured the Flying G’s in the third a fourth set. Gladwin lost the third set 25-15, but came back and played better early in the fourth set. They held a 11-7 lead at one point and were as close as 15-17 late before the experience of the Clare team took over giving them a 25-17 win.
Statistical leaders for Gladwin were; Vasher 16 kills and 21 digs, Parrett 11 kills, 26 digs, Breault 8 kills, 20 digs, and Reynolds 27 assists.
“It was a long season filled with doubt,” continued Wetmore. “We didn’t know whether we would be playing from week to week.” This uncertainty was part of doing business during the pandemic. Teams had to constantly adjust to changing conditions and make the best of the situation. “Somehow we ended up fighting for another district championship. Even though we fell short, we adapted and grew this season more than any of my teams has had to do in the past. I’m proud of the girls for that. Anyone that saw us play that first game in Grayling in August and saw us play our last game in Standish this week, would have trouble recognizing us as the same team.”