By Anthony Clark Jr.
The Grand Rapids Community College women’s volleyball team shut out the Ancilla Chargers Friday, March 19, in a double-header that closed the season series, 3-0, for the Raiders. The team improved their conference and overall season record to 7-3.
Due to the various postponements and cancellations of junior college athletics, the Raiders were originally scheduled to face off against the Chargers for the first time this season on Feb. 16, but the match was subsequently postponed to March 19, thus creating a back-to-back match against Ancilla College. After the physical bout against the Glen Oaks Vikings, on Tuesday, March 16, the Raiders found a second wind for the two matches and finished the night, 2-0.
The first match’s sets finished at 25-14, 25-12 and 25-12. The second finishing at 25-23, 25-8 and 25-17. The Raiders saw a far more efficient night in every facet, as the team kill rate average stood at .368% (89 total kills), 81 total digs, and 84 total assists. Even with the team exhausted, the Raiders put on one of their better performances as they combined rhythm, pace, and execution. The Raiders prevented Ancilla College from winning a single set in all three games this season, 0-9.
Sophomore Gabi Kitley took on the role of being the offensive juggernaut for the Raiders, as the outside hitter tallied 26 total kills (8 kills, 17 kills) on a jaw-dropping .585% kill rate average. The pivotal counterparts of sophomores Annie Holesinger (16 kills) and Kylie Oberlin (14 kills) and freshmen Kara Hecht and Haley Dobry (14 kills each) were also prudent for the Raiders’ double-header successes.
Kitley commented on how the team was able to extend their competitive drive after a depleting week of matches.
“I think we used the double-header as practice for our upcoming tougher games,” said Kitley. “It was a great time to stay focused and work on our communication as a team and find ways to be smart with our play even when our bodies were exhausted… We have just been working so hard on our inter-team relationships and being able to project nothing but positivity and drive onto the court and it’s really starting to show.”
Sophomore setter Kailey Carmean stood out once more, as she contributed a third-consecutive offensive showcase in the assists category (71 of the team’s 84 total assists), and achieving career milestones as she reached 600 career assists and 200 career digs.
Although the Raiders were able to secure a second-place standing for the Western Conference, their final games of the regular-season will be important to ensure the momentum gained from their recent success carries into the postseason.
Facing a potential sweep, the Raiders will look to carry their momentum into the last regular-season game against the undefeated Muskegon Jayhawks (10-0) in hopes of avoiding a 0-3 finish. The match will be the final road game and the second-to-last game in the regular season for the Raiders. The match is scheduled for Tuesday, March 23, at 6:30 p.m.
Head coach Chip Will and other notable Raiders could not be reached at the time this article was published.
Spectators can livestream the Raider’s next match on the Muskegon YouTube Channel.