Home Featured News GRCC Volleyball dominates nationally-ranked competition at Raider Challenge

GRCC Volleyball dominates nationally-ranked competition at Raider Challenge

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The Grand Rapids Community College women's volleyball team celebrates after taking the game versus the Terra State Community College Titans. The game ended 3-0 for the Raiders. (Kennedy Rappleye/The Collegiate)

The Grand Rapids Community College women’s volleyball team hosted the Raider Challenge this past weekend, defeating two National Junior College Athletic Association ranked teams, No. 2 in Division III Owens Community College and No. 5 in Division II Terra State Community College, in three-straight sets, along with defeating Macomb Community College in four sets.

The Raiders came into the tournament as the No. 10 ranked team in the NJCAA rankings. After sweeping two top five opponents, it was announced on Monday, Oct. 4 that the Raiders moved up to No. 7 in the rankings.

“Knowing that we have what it takes to not only compete with these teams, but also come out on top both times is such a confidence boost,” said freshman outside hitter Audrey Torres. “Being that we will probably face Terra State in the regional finals on nationals, getting that 3-0 sweep definitely gave us momentum going forward to keep playing with all we got.”

The Raiders’ defense has been their strongest component in their game, which is leading to scoring opportunities when they go on the offensive.

“Against Terra State, I thought our defense was fantastic,” said GRCC head coach Chip Will. “It’s a commitment to want to play defense. It’s a commitment to understanding that you have to do that to beat teams, you can’t just do the good things as far as hitting to beat them, you also have to play some great defense. I was very pleased that they really bought into that philosophy.”

The tournament started on Saturday, Oct. 2 when the Raiders faced off against OCC, defeating them in three-straight sets (25-18, 25-13, 25-23). The Raiders were led by Torres who had 11 kills and 11 digs. Sophomore Annie Holesinger continued her success on the offensive attack with 15 kills along with one block.

After the impressive first day performance, the Raiders were hoping to continue their success in a rematch against TSCC after losing to them earlier in the season, 3-1. The Raiders came out with an energy that had not been seen all season. They attacked the Titans early and never let up, performing the best they have all season. The Titans only led once during the entire match when they scored the first point of the second set. The Raiders secured the win in three-straight sets (25-13, 25-16, 25-19). GRCC was again led by Holesinger who had 12 kills and three blocks. The impressive win was also aided by redshirt-freshman Kara Hecht who had nine kills, seven digs, and four aces and Torres who had seven kills, two blocks, two aces, and two assists.

The Raiders had an hour intermission between matches after the exciting match versus Terra State. With a 10-game win streak on the line, the Raiders were able to pull out a win against MCC in four sets (25-17, 26-28, 25-14, 25-16). GRCC’s energy seemed to change drastically from the match earlier in the day which affected their performance in the second set, but they were able to regain the energy in the third set to pull out the win and finish the tournament undefeated.

With the three wins at the Raider Challenge, the Raiders have won 10-straight games, now 7-0 in the conference and 13-5 overall.

“Winning 10-straight games is the best feeling in the world,” Torres said. “It’s so much fun going on the court with these wins under our belt and see what we can prove. We don’t plan on breaking this streak anytime soon.”

The Raiders will start the second half of conference play when they travel to Centreville to face off against Glen Oaks Community College on Tuesday, Oct. 5 starting at 6:30 p.m.

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