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Improved defense sparking Trojans' turnaround

Nate Thompson • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:44 AM

Fruitport’s varsity volleyball team has taken that to heart the last few weeks under head coach Nicole Bayle and positive results are finally starting to show on the court.

The Trojans’ record dipped to a dismal 11-10 at one point, but after a respectable showing at their talent-filled home invitational on Saturday and Tuesday’s three-game wipeout of rival Spring Lake, it appears Fruitport has turned the corner.

“We were pretty shaky (at the Mona Shores’ outdoor quad two weeks ago), and since then we’ve really focused as a team at working together, moving and talking,” said Bayle following her squad’s 25-7, 25-20, 25-16 sweep of the Lakers at Spring Lake High School. “It’s not necessarily one person that has stepped up, but it’s more about trusting and working together on defense. We’ve worked on that aspect a ton. That’s a pretty small rectangle for six people together. You have to communicate and work together. That in itself has really improved our defense.”

It’s easier said then done, especially with the struggles Spring Lake experienced Wednesday. Lakers’ head coach Sarah Bulthuis wasn’t pleased with her team’s ability to handle Fruitport’s offense, which was much more balanced than in two previous meetings.

“We didn’t have very good ball control with our passing,” Bulthuis said. “Because of that, we gave Fruitport way too many free balls and that let them get into their offense more easily.”

And when the Trojans (15-12, 3-0 Lakes Eight Conference) can easily set senior outside hitter Brandie Jones, it’s usually lights out. She had six of her team-high 11 kills in the first game alone — just one less than the total points Spring Lake managed to put on the scoreboard. The Lakers had eight digging and hitting errors in the game, which equaled disaster.

To read more of this story, see today's print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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