Menominee volleyball

EagleHerald/Brian Bell

Menominee's Erin Olson (6) watches a kill go over the hands of a Westwood player during Thursday's match as teammates Maria Pesola (12) and Joey VanBeek (11) look on.

MENOMINEE — The Menominee volleyball team was so close to getting its first win of the season on Thursday night against Westwood, but the Maroons were unable to close it out and Westwood made the long trip back home with a 3-2 match win.

Menominee edged out the Patriots in the first two games 25-23 and 26-24 to take a 2-0 lead and needed to win just one more set to end the match, but Westwood hung around and won the third set 25-16 before tying the match at 2-2 with a 25-23 win in the fourth to send it to a fifth set.

In the fifth, Menominee took an early 3-0 lead on an ace from Kayla Drifka, but Westwood went on a 9-1 run to take a 9-4 advantage, and the match eventually ended when a kill from the Maroons went into the net as Menominee fell 15-11.

“We just don’t have the confidence or experience to know that they can push through it and close it out,” Menominee coach Sarah Betzinger said. “I think once we went up two games we relaxed a little too much and that opened the window for Westwood to come back. Our relaxation turned into panic and then we fell apart.”

The Maroons played arguably their best match of the season and it showed on the stat sheet in the postgame as Rylee Wickstrom led the team with 10 kills and Erin Olson added seven of her own with four aces. Drifka and Joey VanBeek led the Maroons offense with 16 and 12 assists and Lani Holmes added seven digs.

“Rylee and Erin both played great I thought. They both looked great at the net and Lani was running her tail off on the back line,” Betzinger said. “There was very few shanked balls by us tonight and the girls really looked into the game. Obviously, I’m disappointed with the loss, but with the way we played I’m very happy. They fought and scrapped and eventually we’re going to learn how to close these games out once we put it all together. They know they can do it, we just need to get that confidence up.”

In JV action, the Maroons were victorious in two out of three games by scores of 25-18, 23-25 and 29-27. Piper Monroe led Menominee with 10 kills, Mady Kamin had four aces and two digs and Hanna Drifka added four kills and an ace.