By Noah Genson

NORTON SHORES – Roster turnover can be tough.

The Mona Shores volleyball team has been facing a rebuilding task this season, after losing eight rotation players from last year’s district runner-up squad.

Megan DeLong places the set as Emma Piasecki makes her approach for the spike. Photo/Eric Sturr

But the Sailors’ inexperience didn’t stop them from getting a big win on Tuesday. They had to work hard, but finally emerged with a five-set comeback victory over Kenowa Hills in an O-K Black conference match at Mona Shores High School.

The set scores were 25-22, 21-25, 18-25, 25-13, 15-13.

“We’re very young,” said Mona Shores Coach Jim Vanderwall. “We have one senior on the roster. While it’s nice to have some senior leadership, you always hope you have more of it.

“I just look for our girls to keep improving every day, and so far that’s what I have seen from them.”

Toughness and determination were key for the Sailors during the long match on Tuesday, and Vanderwall said the team’s chemistry is the reason they fight so hard.

“When you get into games like this, you need to lean on one another,” the coach said. “With how our girls have come together as one, we were able to fight as one and pull this one off tonight.”

In the first set, the Sailors trailed 15-9 before a going on a run, which was capped off by a kill from Lauren Dunn, knotting the score at 17-17. Later in the set, a service run by Meghan Adams pushed the Sailors to a 23-19 lead and they held on for the win.

Bri Wade goes for the spike down the line. Photo/Eric Sturr

Kenowa Hills won the second and third sets and seemed to take control of the match.

But the Sailors bounced back in the fourth set with a 25-13 victory, setting up the fifth and final set.

Sailor Senior Emma Lynn had two crucial kills late in the fifth set, helping Mona Shores pull out a 15-13 win that clinched the match.

Dunn led the way with a season-high 19 kills for the Sailors while Brianne Wade and Lynn added 11 and 10 kills, respectively.

Megan DeLong had 43 assists for Mona Shores, while on the defensive side of the ball, Suriya van der Oord led with 26 digs.

The Sailors improved to 9-19-3 overall on the season and 5-2 in conference play. This Saturday they will host the Best in the West tournament.