Flushing — The Fenton varsity volleyball team couldn’t have asked for a better first set against Flushing as the Tigers battled to defend their Metro League championship, Tuesday at Flushing High School.
The Tigers played near flawless volleyball during that first set, quickly jumping to a 25-10 victory and a 1-0 set lead. Life was still good if you were a Fenton fan after the Tigers won the second set by a tighter 25-22 score. However, from that point, the Tigers made more errors, and really struggled with service reception the rest of the match, resulting in a 10-25, 22-25, 26-24, 26-24, 15-12 loss to the Flushing Raiders.
Flushing (6-0) now has the inside track to the Metro League title as the Tigers (6-1) are going to need help to earn at least a share of the crown. Fenton has one more Metro match left — a Tuesday match at Swartz Creek — and needs a victory. Flushing has a home match against Clio and a road match against Kearsley during the next two weeks, but will be a heavy favorite in both matches.
“No question, they served us tough and we didn’t serve receive well,” Fenton varsity volleyball coach Jerry Eisinger said. “We serve received well early and then it kind of fell apart on us and we couldn’t get it back. It made a difference.”
The Tigers may have played their best set of the season in the first set. Chloe Idoni started on fire, earning Fenton’s first six kills, leading the Tigers to a quick 10-3 lead. Flushing tried to get back into the set by scoring the next two points, but that’s about as much of a run that the Raiders made. A kill by Delaney Meisch was followed by a Sydney Acho ace, raising the lead to 10 (16-6) for the first time in the match. Set point came at 25-10 on an Idoni kill.
In the second set, the Tigers played solid as well, collecting 14 kills with just one hitting error during the set. Fenton trailed 22-20 late on a kill by Sutton Bate. However, a service error gave Fenton’s Erin Carter the service with Fenton trailing 22-21. Carter served the final four points of the set with Lydia Podlesak earning a kill and Idoni earning three kills during the run. Idoni provided set point’s kill.
The Tigers struggled after the second set. Fenton’s poor service reception hurt their offense as the Tigers had just nine kills and three hitting errors in the third set. Still, despite the Tigers’ struggles, Fenton remained close and had a chance to win the match. Trailing 23-17, Fenton’s Meisch collected a kill, giving Acho the service. She provided four straight points, cutting the deficit to 23-22.
Flushing earned its first set point after a kill by Maddie Morrison, but Fenton’s Chloe McKenzie recorded a tip kill, staving off the set point. Fenton followed with a block kill by Sydney Sahar and McKenzie, tying the set at 24-all, but back-to-back kills by Flushing’s Taylor Wendling gave Flushing a 28-26 victory.
The Tigers’ continued to struggle in the fourth as well. Fenton had three service reception errors and a hitting error during the set’s first 11 points, putting the Tigers down 8-3.
However, the Tigers fought back. Trailing 17-10 an overpass kill by Sahar gave Fenton’s Meg Wolosonowich the service and she proceeded to serve six straight service points. Idoni had kills on four of those services, allowing the Tigers to tie it at 17-all. The set remained close from that point. The set was tied at 24-all when Flushing earned a kill by Quincy Davis. That kill was followed by a service ace by Larissa Luff. It was service that Fenton allowed to fall on the floor.
In the fifth set, Fenton was tied 11-11 after an Idoni kill, but Flushing took control down the stretch, earning three kills during their final four points, including the final on a Davis kill.
“I know we started playing a little more tentative when we had a two-set lead, and we just can’t do that,” Eisinger said. “We talked about it (playing more aggressive), but it’s one thing to say it and another thing to do it.”
Idoni finished the night with 28 kills and just four hitting errors, however the rest of the Tigers posted just 18 kills and seven service errors. Meisch and Podlesak had six kills each. Sahar led the Tigers with four combined block kills while Meisch and McKenzie had three block kills.
Morrison led Flushing with 13 kills while Wendling had 11 kills. Maddy House, Davis and Bate had nine kills each.