The Grand Rapids Community College women’s volleyball team secured another conference win with an impressive outing versus Kellogg Community College in four sets (25-10, 22-25, 25-17, 25-14). The Raiders are now 3-0 in conference play and 6-5 overall.
The 14th nationally ranked Raiders came into the game seeking their fourth-straight win, and on the other side, the Bruins were coming in looking to snap a two-game losing streak.
“We made some lineup changes today,” said GRCC head coach Chip Will. “You can always put stuff on paper of what you think is going to be the right lineup… It was nice seeing some of the changes we made personnel wise get implemented well today.”
The Raiders started the match with their best set of the season, absolutely dominating the Bruins and easily securing the set win. Their communication on the court seemed to be the deciding factor as it led to a great rhythm to give them all the momentum.
“We got a couple key kids who really help lead the offense and lead the defense,” Will said. “When they are on the court, they are the coaches out there. They are the ones who really do a nice job. It is fun to have them be the ones leading the show, so we give them that responsibility and they did a nice job.”
Sophomore middle blocker Annie Holesinger set a career high with 19 kills in the match along with four blocks.
“I worked really hard in the offseason, and I know what works (for me),” Holesinger said.
The Raiders also saw another great performance from freshman outside hitter Audrey Torres who had 10 digs, nine kills, and one ace.
“(I’m) just working hard and relying on my teammates,” Torres said, attributing the Raiders’ success to the fact that they are building off each other on the court. “…(We) are just giving our all every play.”
In the first set the Raiders were able to get off to a great start when they went on an eight-point run aided by two Holesinger kills, and a kill and block from freshman Shannon Russell. Following a Bruins timeout, Kellogg was able to stop the run, but two points later, the Raiders were able to go on a seven-point run to go up 19-6. Torres came alive in the run with three kills after being quiet to start the set. With their most impressive start this season, the Raiders were able to defeat the Bruins in the first set, 25-10.
The Raiders seemed to let up a little going into the second set, falling behind the Bruins, 11-6. The Bruins took the momentum in the beginning of the second set, giving the frustrated Raiders a hard time coming back. The Bruins were able to keep a solid lead throughout the set. The Raiders were able to mount a small comeback and took the lead for the first time in the set, going up 20-17 late. The Bruins were able to go on a five point run to get the lead back. After a back and forth battle for the set, the Bruins were able to come out on top, 25-22.
“I think we were really frustrated with ourselves,” Holesinger said. “We lost our momentum from the first game and kinda just let up. We knew we were better than that and we came back.”
Following an upsetting second set, the Raiders were looking to bounce back quickly in the third set. The beginning of the set remained tight with no one pulling away. That quickly ended when the Raiders went on an eight-point run with freshman Karissa Ferry and Holesinger securing two kills each, creating a big lead over the Bruins, 18-12. After back-to-back aces from redshirt-freshman Audrey Gower, the Raiders were able to finish off the third set 25-17 to go up 2-1.
In the fourth set, the Raiders were able to get back into a rhythm, going up 9-5 early. The Raiders kept a steady lead while negating any chance of a comeback by the Bruins. Following a Bruins timeout, Holesinger finished strong with a kill and block in back-to-back points, leading to a comfortable win for the Raiders, 25-14
Russell was a standout player, recording 45 assists for the Raiders along with nine digs, five kills, and one block. The Raiders win was also aided by performances from Ferry (nine kills and three blocks), sophomore Kylie Oberlin (five kills and one block), freshman Ola Nowak (20 digs and seven assists), and freshman Rylee VanPatten (14 digs, six kills, and two blocks).
The Raiders will look to continue their success when they travel to Muskegon on Monday, Sept. 20 to face off against the Jayhawks. This will be the first match against MCC since the upsetting loss in the NJCAA Regional Finals.
“Muskegon is always tough,” Will said. “It’s a tough place to play, so we just (have) to make sure we are prepared, and it’s going to be fun.”