By Jakhari Carroll – Collegiate Staff
The Grand Rapids Community College women’s volleyball winning streak ended today, Oct. 2, at the Ford Fieldhouse on the second and final day of the Raider Challenge Volleyball Tournament as they defeated St. Claire Community College (MI) 3-2, only to be swept by Owens Community College (OH) 3-0.
In their first match of the day, against St. Claire, the mindset of the team was not in the right place.
“We had a thought process that said, ‘We’re going to win this match,’” said Head Coach Chip Will. “Sometimes when they do that, their work ethic kind of stops, you know for us it was just making sure, mentally and physically they were staying engaged.”
During the match with St. Claire, adversity set in for the Raiders, as they lost two sets. But with their backs against the wall, they kept fighting and making plays.
“At the end of the day with this team, we never stop fighting,” Will said. “We never stop pushing, like in the third set. It doesn’t matter if our backs are against the wall, we’re going to always keep responding.”
The players handled the adversity by holding each other accountable to their own individual assignments.
“I think the main thing we did is as a team (was) we picked up our individual assignments,” said Freshman Defensive Specialist Kennedy Potts. “We did our jobs and I think by us just fixing our problems on our side of the net it showed that we were the better team.”
The day didn’t get any easier for the Raiders who were swept by Owens, a team ranked third in the nation. Going into the match Owens knew that they were going up against a good GRCC team with a solid reputation.
“We know GRCC is a good team,” said Owens Head Coach Sonny Lewis. They have great volleyball history. There’s a lot of good kids that come from this area, which is probably the strongest volleyball area in Michigan, the Grand Rapids area. So we’re expecting a good, tough match. They’re ranked, we’re ranked so we expect an exciting match.”
There was mutual respect between the two coaches and teams.
“They’re ranked number three in the country for a reason,” Will said. “They’re big, physical and they only made about five errors in three sets. At the end of the day that is going to be really tough to beat, so you tip your hat to them. They played really well. But for us, understand when we do play a physical team that is long like them we try to use it as a weakness.”
For the players, they knew that they were up against a great team but despite the lose, they believe improvements will continue to be made and playing with confidence will become apart of the future game plan.
“They’re a really good team, they are solid in every position,” Potts said. “What we have to do is play with more confidence, I think that we will continue to improve. We just have to settle in and just find our rhythm. Towards the end I think that we found some of their weaknesses. We just have to fine tune some things and I think they’re beatable in the future.”