By Anthony Clark Jr.
After the tough loss to the nationally ranked Muskegon Jayhawks on March 9, the Grand Rapids Community College Women’s Volleyball team showcased their resilience March 11 against the Lake Michigan Red Hawks in a 3-1 road win.
Lake Michigan College did not make the match easy for the Raiders, with the first set falling in favor of the Red Hawks, 25-22.
“…Tonight, I feel like we had too much confidence going in and we were shut down that first set,” said sophomore Annie Holesinger. “But we found our rhythm and we came back to win.”
The team did exactly that, as they went on to dominate the rest of the match and finish each set 25-22, 25-16, 25-17, and 25-20.
Although the Raiders did not come out of the gates hot, they refrained from allowing the first set to deter their offensive aggressiveness as the team finished with 58 kills (.278% kill rate). Holesinger led the attack with 17 kills, sophomores Gabi Kitley and Kylie Oberlin both had 10 kills, and freshman Kara Hecht provided nine kills. Sophomore Kailey Carmean (23 assists) and freshman Zari Kruger (18 assists) were pillars for the offense as both Raiders combined for 41 of the team’s 52 total assists.
The team also showcased their defensive prowess once more, with a various amount of Raiders contributing to the team’s 56 total digs; freshman Savannah Stoepker (12 digs), sophomore Haley Stewart and Kruger (10 digs), freshman Audrey Gower and Carmean (eight digs).
Expanding on team chemistry has continued to be a focal point in the Raiders’ game plan throughout the season. Players have noted that without it, the team cannot be successful. Oberlin commented on how the team can find itself when dealing with adversity and was able to rebound from their early struggles.
“The best part of the game tonight was being able to bounce back, be resilient, and work through some issues we faced in the first set,” said Oberlin. “Struggling a bit at first showed us that we have the mental toughness to handle the setback and turn around and play better.”
Oberlin also commented on the team’s upcoming bout against Glen Oaks Community College.
“…the most important thing going into any game, especially Glen Oaks, is going in as a team, working as a unit and knowing each and every one of us is a vital component. No one person has a job that is more important, no position is any more necessary than the next… this is a team that is capable of great things, we just have to play our game.”
Head coach Chip Will was unavailable to comment by the time this story was published – check back later for updates.
The Raiders are now 3-1 on the road and 4-3 in both conference and overall games. Without any more unforeseen cancellations, the Raiders will have five more games left in the regular season – four of which will be played at home. The next game will be played against the Glen Oaks Vikings at the Gordon Hunsberger Arena Tuesday, March 16 at 6:30 p.m. Viewers can watch the livestream on the GRCC YouTube Channel.