GRAYLING -- It went about the way Grayling girls volleyball coach Tim Zigila figured it would, as neither team was able to exert its will on the other. Unfortunately for the Vikings, it was visiting Gladwin coming out on top, 3-2 in a grueling five-set marathon in Graying on Thursday night.
The two teams engaged in a back and forth affair in the non-conference dual in which the Vikings (2-1) gained a 2-1 advantage before the Flying G's of the Jackpine Conference rallied to go 2-1 over the next three sets.
After winning the first set, 25-17, the Vikings saw the Flying G's tie the match with a 22-25 victory in the second. Grayling gained the lead again with a 26-24 decision in set three. But the Vikings lost the next two sets, 23-25 and 8-15.
Grayling failed to mount any big runs in that fifth set, largely because their top servers were unable to score more than one point after the change of possession.
On the other hand, the Flying G's had two servers click off serveral points in succession to keep the Vikings from gathering any steam. It was a frustrating combination for the Vikings.
"I thought that they (the Flying G's) played well," Vikings' coach Tim Zigila said. "With their proximity to Mount Pleasant and Midland, I think a lot of their kids are playing AAU ball and it shows.
"They had some pretty skilled passers. I thought we were pretty evenly matched, so it was a nice back and forth battle. I thought we still looked real good. I thought we passed well.
"We just were not really firing on all cylinders, so to speak. (We) missed a few balls from our outside hitters not being super consistent. Missed serves were the difference last night."
Primary setter Alison Brown finished with 28 assists for the match. Paige Clark paced the Vikings with eight kills, Jasmine Youngblood and Kynadi Dole each had seven and Kenzie Castle contributed six. Ellie Wagner, the Vikings' libero, had 24 digs.
Grayling hosts a quad with Johannesburg-Lewiston and Mancelona out of the Ski Valley Conference, and either Clare or Gaylord St. Mary on Saturday starting at 10 a.m.

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