By Anthony Clark Jr.
The Grand Rapids Community College women’s volleyball team had their four-game win streak snapped Tuesday, March 23, in a five-round dogfight that fell in favor of the Jayhawks 25-23, 26-24, 25-14, 25-22 and 15-11.
With this loss, the Raiders’ conference and regular-season record stands at 7-4. The Raiders weren’t able to secure a victory against Muskegon as the season series finished 3-0 for the Jayhawks.
Spectators of the match may have been inclined to believe the Raiders would be able to win their first match against the Jayhawks this season, as the Raiders gained a 2-1 lead over Muskegon after a resilient 25-14 finish of the third set and all the momentum on their side. However, the Raiders were not able to capitalize and found themselves tied going into the fourth set and ultimately being shy of four points to win the match overall.
Head coach Chip Will commented on the tough loss while saying the team played very aggressively in each match against Muskegon this season, and that the Raiders learned some lessons on how to finish games with more intensity when the opportunity comes.
“(Tuesday) was a really great match against a tough opponent,” Will said. “We saw what we need to expand on a little more in late situations against a team like this (Muskegon) and we’ll have to be ready for next week. As we continue to play, everything we do in practice is translated on the court each night.”
Sophomore outside hitter Gabi Kitley and sophomore middle blocker Kylie Oberlin led the offense once more with 18 kills each, as sophomore outside hitter Annie Holesinger (15 kills) and freshman outside hitter Kara Hecht (10 kills, 17 digs) contributed to the valiant team effort.
“I think we as a whole team need to keep our calm in stressful situations,” Holesinger said. “We blew the lead in the second set and kind of just gave up in the fifth set… We have come a long way, districts are the time to put it all together.”
Sophomore setter Kailey Carmean was the centerpiece of the Raiders’ offensive attack for a fifth consecutive game with an astounding 57 of the team’s 62 assists, with the defense led by freshman defensive specialist/libero Audrey Gower (23 digs).
The Raiders will look to finish the regular-season with a record of 8-4 Friday, March 27, against Lake Michigan College. The team has dominated their upcoming matchup thus far over the season, winning the matches 3-0 and 3-1. This match against the Red Hawks will be the final home and regular-season game for the Raiders – the game is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the Gordon Hunsberger Arena.
Viewers can livestream the match on the GRCC YouTube Channel.