Millado, Hruska Help Marquette Clinch GNC Title

Click the thumbnails to see photos and video highlights. Click the AUDIO buttons to hear comments from Marquette's Seiler Hruska and Coach Ann Crandell-Williams, and Escanaba Coach Adam Lambert.

The Marquette High School volleyball team clinched the outright Great Northern Conference championship Tuesday night with a 3-1 win over the Escanaba Eskymos.

The scores were 25-18, 25-11, 20-25, 25-13.

Maria Mallado had 21 kills, including six in a dominating first set, and Seiler Hruska added 14 killsas the Redettes closed the regular season with a conference championship.

"Defintely, being at Esky for the GNC conference is always tough because they have a humungous crowd," Hruska said. "I think our little crowd he had helped, and just the overall effort of everyone on the court. We rallied when we were down. We lost that set, and went into our huddle, and said, we were like, hey, this next one (Set #4) is our's."

That ended up being the case, but not before Escanaba took an early 4-2 lead in that fourth set. The set was tied at 7-7, but Escanaba would not end up forcing a fifth set because the Redettes went on a 13-2 run to go up, 20-9, with Hruska and Mallado leading the charge.

"I think once our passing came on-line a little bit more, and once we were able to push her the ball a little bit more, and she got warmed up, that really helped us a lot," Marquette Coach Ann Crandell-Williams said. "Seiler came on in that fourth set. I think that really got us rolling. We were a little bit more of a roller coaster tonight, but I feel the girls are kind of peaking at the right time (heading into the playoffs)."

Escanaba battled in the first set, trailing just 17-16 before the Redettes closed it out with a 9-2 run, keyed by Mallado. Then the second set was a complete washout for the Eskymos, getting beat 25-11. But the third set saw the Eskymos ride the wave of emotion from their very loud student section to break open a close set, closing on a five-point service run by Katelyn Stalboerger. Three of those points were on aces.

"They've got a couple of amazing hitters," Escanaba Coach Adam Lambert said. "And their setter, when they're on cue, they're just fun to watch. Marquette's a great team. We took one set from them. That's awesome. There was noise in the gym. The fans were good. The players were good. That's good momentum coming into Manistique (this Thursday night) and of course, post-season starting next week. It's tough to lose, but Marquette is an amazing team."

Hruska, a four-year starter who will play at NCAA-Division One Wright State (Ohio) next fall, added to her total of digs. She crossed the 1,000 dig milestone last Saturday against Calumet.

"It'sa really big accomplishment," Hruska said. "I really wasn't expecting to get to that, just because, I mean, I'm not a libero! I don't play all the way back-row. But I'm really happy I did this this season."

For the Redettes, the regular season is over, and now, it's on to the districts, and Crandell-Williams isn't shy about admitting that her team is a big underdog against Traverse City West.

"I think we have the skills, but the planets have to align on any given night, for any team to beat any team," Crandell-Williams said. "They've won coulntless districts in the past several years. I think the girls have done everything they can and now, we're just hoping that the cards fall in the right direction."

And for Escanaba, before the Eskymos open districts on the road next Monday in Houghton, they will have one last home game with their big student section cheering, this Thursday against the Manistique Emeralds. The Eskymos beat Manistique in a 3-2 thriller in the Emerald City a few weeks ago.

"The thing about Manistique ius they're coached really well," Lambert said. "I mean, Amy (Nixon) is a great coach over there. They'll bring a good team. It will probably go back and forth and will probably go five sets, if I'm honest."

It will be both Senior Night and Parent Night for the Eskymos.

Negaunee 3, Gladstone 0
Gwinn 3, Ishpeming 1
Stephenson 3, Menominee 0
Iron Mountain 3, Westwood 0
Carney-Nadeau 3, North Central 0
Bark River-Harris 3, North Dickinson 0 (25-23, 25-17, 25-15)

LISTEN: Marquette senior Seiler Hruska comments
LISTEN: Marquette Coach Ann Crandon-Williams comments
LISTEN: Escanaba Coach Adam Lambert comments