The Grand Rapids Community College women’s volleyball opened up their first home game of the season, sweeping Jackson College 3-0 to move on to a 10-1 overall record.
The No. 4 nationally ranked Raiders played like they could do no wrong, taking it to Jackson College in all three sets after coming back home from a 10-game road trip.
“We did good tonight with a lot of moving parts,” Head Coach Chip Will said. “I think they handled being back home for the first time this season very well and they did a great job of staying physically and emotionally engaged.”
The players walked away from the game positive as they look forward to the next game ahead.
“It felt really good to be back home and we came in and took care of business,” said Defensive Specialist Megan DeGlopper.
“We did good but we still have more room to improve,” Outside Hitter/Defensive Specialist Hailey DeKorte said.
This year’s team consists of nine freshman and only five returning sophomores. Will said the young team did well with handling the adversity of traveling to compete in games.
“I think it helped us in terms of our maturity,” Will said. “The long travels kind of toughened us up. It forced us to count on each other, because when you travel and play games they’re usually not a lot of parents in there. So it kind of created a unity between the players.”
So far, during this young season for the Raiders they have defeated two ranked opponents, No. 12 McHenry College and No. 13 Kellogg Community College. Those two victories, along with the rest of their impressive wins, have propelled the Raiders to a No. 4 ranking in the country.
“We have done a good job of showing top teams what we’re about,” Will said. “I think our competitive play so far have shown everybody from a voting standpoint, that we’re the real deal. But no matter how we do in the polls we have to continue to get better, no matter if it’s against a great team or a marginal team.”
Tonight’s game was for a bigger cause than just improving their overall record. The Raiders wanted to help a specific family that was in attendance, a couple named Greg and Cheryl Hutchings that are battling cancer.
“That family has been my neighbors, their kids are kind of like my kids,” Will said. “We’ve known them for a very long time and the fact that they both went to GRCC and were athletes here was a very special thing. Us being able to give back to them is really something that we strive to do as a program, we want to find ways to make a positive impact in our community.”
Athletic Director Billy Firn said he was pleased to see crowd support at the first home game of the season and “The Cavalry” student section organization’s first appearance of the year.
“We had a great turnout and I loved the enthusiasm the crowd showed,” Firn said. “It was really cool to see the (Hutchings) family here and for us to be able to give back to them. I love how the team played, they came out with a lot of fire and for the Cavalry’s first game, it was really cool and unique to see the students buy into it and come up with some chants during the game. It was a great overall family night.”
All proceeds from tonight’s game have been donated to the Hutchings and their fight against cancer.
The Raiders next game will be at 6:30 p.m. on Tues, Sept. 26, at the Ford Fieldhouse against Lansing Community College.