By Anthony Clark Jr.
The Grand Rapids Community College women’s volleyball team has experienced many unfortunate cancellations and postponements throughout the 2020-21 season. With an already shortened season prior to commencement and a valiant 8-4 regular season record under their belt, the Raiders were hoping to carry their momentum into the postseason. However, COVID-19 complications continue to disrupt the normality of collegiate sports.
On Sunday, March 28, the Raiders were originally scheduled to face off against Henry Ford Community College in the quarterfinals of the tournament, but the match was canceled due to COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. The team was hopeful the extra day of rest would give them more confidence and fluid play going into their semifinals match against St. Clair Community College. Unfortunately, the semifinals match that was originally scheduled for Wednesday, March 31, was also canceled for the same health and safety reasons.
“I think that our team would have definitely benefited from having a game before the finals game in order to acclimate ourselves with the pressure, emotions, and talent that come with high-intensity games during the postseason tournament,” said sophomore Savannah Stoepker.
The cancellation was announced on the GRCC volleyball Instagram account. GRCC Interim Athletic Director David Selmon noted the games were cancelled due to positive tests among players from both teams.
“It was unfortunate that both teams had to miss out on those opportunities and end their season that way, but these are the rules we have to follow in order to keep our players and theirs (opponents) safe,” said Selmon.
Sophomore Annie Holesinger, one of the team captains, commented on the multiple cancellations and how she believes it will affect the team’s play going forward.
“I’ll be honest, having these games get canceled has sucked,” said Holesinger. “We really needed those extra games in our belt so we could use all of our tools against MCC (Muskegon Community College) on Friday.”
The Raiders were unsuccessful against the Muskegon Jayhawks during the course of the regular season, as the team fell 3-0 to the nationally ranked opponent. However, the last time the teams met, the Raiders had multiple opportunities to close out the match and secure their first victory over the No. 1 seed of the Michigan Community College Athletic Association (MCCAA) Western Conference.
After this upsetting third and final loss, the Raiders were well aware that a postseason rematch would likely occur – a matchup each Raider has looked forward to.
“I think we are all a little more fired up than usual since we had these games canceled,” continued Holesinger. “I think we are ready and the momentum is still there if not higher since we know what it takes to beat them.”
Other Raiders weighed in on the quarterfinals and semifinals cancellations and the upcoming bout against the undefeated Jayhawks.
“I am not mad that we are automatically advancing, but I do wish we had those games to help us improve,” said freshman Audrey Gower. “I don’t think this will be a big setback, we will just have to play our hearts out.”
Without another cancellation, the finals matchup for the Raiders and Jayhawks will be played at Muskegon Friday, April 2, at 6:30 p.m. Updates for the upcoming game and other questions/concerns can be located on the MCCAA webpage.
Spectators can livestream the game on the Muskegon YouTube Channel.
Chip Will, head coach for the GRCC volleyball team, couldn’t be reached for comment.