Islander Sports

Report and photos by Frank Solle

The winter sports season kicked off for the Island high school teams here Friday night with the Islanders hosting their favorite rivals, the Lakers of Mackinac Island.

It was a little better night for the Lady Islanders than for their male counterparts, as the girls put a 15-12, 15-9 hurt on the Lakers in a great start to their volleyball season.

In the night’s opening action, the Mackinac Island boys started hot and never let up as they cruised to a 63-30 basketball win.

Islanders Cary-ed to victory
Junior Danielle Cary was the spark for the Islander girls Friday night as she keyed a rally from the service line in game one of the volleyball match.

Cary kept the points coming as her serving run led to a 14-7 Islander lead. From there it was hold-your-breath time as the Lakers fought back to 14-12 before freshman Emma Adams sent the game-winner over the net.

In the second game the Islanders found themselves trailing 8-2 before they ran off five straight points. Senior Kerrie Gillespie served up the final three to bring the Islander within 8-7.

The Lakers scored the next point, but that proved to be it for the visitors. Eighth-grader Andrea Moore came off the bench and served an ace for the Islanders. Then, with Melissa Bailey at the line, Cary took over, smashing five big kills as the home girls ran off the final seven points for the match win.

“This was an excellent way to start the season,” said Islander coach Connie Boyle. “I wasn’t worried about us, I knew we could do it, but Mackinac Island has five seniors back. Yet everyone stepped up tonight and did their job. Andrea went in when we really needed a serve and Danielle played a great game.”

The girls took the court for a third game to give everyone some playing time, but that time proved fairly short as the Islanders claimed a quick 15-2 win.

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The Lakers Show
Hitting their first four shots, including one trey, the Lakers started the game hot and never let up.

Mackinac Island led 17-8 after one quarter and while the teams traded buckets to start the second quarter, the Lakers sailed off on a 16-3 run to take a 35-13 lead at halftime.

“Things went our way from the start,” said first-year Laker coach Ryan Fox. “We started quick and kept up the pressure. Our two big guys dominated in the middle.”

Turnovers and poor shooting didn’t help the Islanders’ effort either. But coach Mike Myers has a young squad and knows things are only going to improve. “We have an inexperienced team,” Myers said. “Only two seniors saw much playing time last season.”

The Islanders managed a 5-0 rally early in the third quarter, but the Lakers closed the period on a 14-3 run to post a 52-21 advantage going into the final eight minutes of play.

John Albin led the Islanders with eight points. Barry McDonough added seven and John Runberg six.

“This was a tough way to start, ”Myers said of playing the top team in the Northern Lights League in the season’s first series, “but it will get our guys motivated.”

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Saturday Sports
Things didn’t go quite as well for the Islander teams against Mackinac Island on Saturday morning as both the volleyball and basketball teams suffered losses.
However, since the teams are scheduled to meet again in February at Mackinac, Saturday’s games will not count in league standings unless those later games cannot be played.
Next up for the Islanders is a visit by the Hannahville Screaming Eagles on December 19 and 20.
Island boys close the gap
When you have a young team, any improvement is worth noting. Saturday’s effort by the Islanders falls into that category as the Islanders dropped a 58-39 decision to the Lakers.
The improvement came from a stepped up defensive effort in the second half that pumped a little more life into the team’s offensive game.
While the first half of basketball wasn’t much different from the Friday night game—the Lakers grabbed a 17-9 first quarter lead and stretched that to 37-15 at the break—the Islanders outscored the visitors 24-21 over the second half, including a fine 13-2 performance in the fourth quarter.
“I thought we looked a little better today,” said coach Mike Myers, although he tempered his praise by adding, “practice, practice, practice, that’s what we need.”
Barry McDonough and Jimmy Gillespie paced the Islanders with 15 and 11 points, respectively. Jared Wojan and John Albin each added four. John Runberg scored three and Eric Albin netted two.

Girls fall in three
Volleyball is a game of momentum. But unlike the waves that pound our island shores during winter storms, that momentum can change direction in a moment’s notice. A tip, a block, a diving dig, any or all can turn the tide.
On Saturday morning the Islander girls landed a 15-8 win in the first game and looked ready to complete the sweep of the Lakers.
But Mackinac had different ideas as the Lakers broke out with an 8-0 run to start game two. Momentum never came back to the Islanders as that game ended 15-7 with the deciding third game going to the Lakers 15-8.
“We didn’t give up, but we didn’t come back,” coach Boyle said of the early Lakers’ game two run. “We had too many errors. We had errors left and right and you can’t do that when you play a good team.”
Trailing by eight in the second game, the Islanders closed the gap to 10-7 following an exciting play that saw Rachel McDonough make a big save along the sideline resulting in a tip by Krystle Timsak.
“That was a great save,” Boyle said of the type of play that doesn’t show up in the scorebook, but that she stresses to her players. “I told the girls on the bench that was the kind of play nobody notices, but it was a huge turning point in the game and kept us in the running.”

Islander Teams

03-04 basketball team.jpg (155069 bytes)

The Islander team members for this season are, from
left, front row: Daniel Runberg, Eric Albin, Kevin Gillespie, Rita
Palmer, Cory Sowa, and John Runberg. Back row: Justin Martin, Jimmy
Gillespie, Jared Wojan, Charlie Gray, Barry McDonough, John Albin, Jeff
Smith and coach Mike Myers.

03-04 volleyball team.jpg (144010 bytes)

The 2003-04 volleyball team includes, from left,
front row: Bailey McDonough, Brenna Green, Krystle Timsak, Rachel
McDonough, Melissa Bailey and Emily Gray. Back row: coach Connie Boyle,
Andrea Moore, Samantha Kuligoski, Emma Adams, Brittany Crandall, Leaha
Cary, Danielle Cary and Kerrie Gillespie. Not present: Christine
McDonough and Melissa Peters.

Thanks, Frank

I'm the very first to admit that I know absolutely nothing about sports even though my children have been playing soccer, basketball and volleyball.  All I know is to yell when everyone else does and that points occur when the ball goes in the net, basket or is missed by the other team.  I'm certainly thanking the powers that be that Frank (and Sue) Solle moved here AND that he knows how to cover a game.  I whined and begged Frank to cover the Islander sports and as you read above he did a fabulous job.  Now, I have to find a bribe - or whine louder - to get him to keep it up.  It's the first time that our sports team has had full coverage.  Thanks, Frank!

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