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GH volleyball uses power, grace to clinch berth to state semifinals

Nate Thompson • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:49 AM

Grand Haven had a clear answer on Tuesday in the Class A quarterfinals at Coopersville High School — bring a main course of “boom,” with a side of “pow.”

Grand Rapids Christian indeed impressed at times with its gritty hustle play defensively, but the Bucs’ power hitters simply overwhelmed the Eagles throughout the majority of Tuesday’s match, helping No. 8-ranked Grand Haven score an impressive 3-1 victory, 25-22, 25-20, 19-25, and 25-17.

“We knew Christian was going to get our fair share of balls, but we knew we had to keep coming at them,” said Grand Haven coach Aaron Smaka. “The thing that stood out tonight was our heart and the way we fought. The way we executed in those first two games when things got tight was tremendous. I can’t say enough about our composure, our resiliency and the way these girls went after it.”

Now, the Bucs are going after two more wins on the biggest stage. Grand Haven (46-16-1) advances to its first-ever trip to the state semifinals at Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek. The Bucs will match up with Temperance Bedford for a Friday match at 5:30 p.m. Bedford knocked off Farmington Hills Mercy in four games on Tuesday.

In the other half of the Class A semifinal bracket, Macomb Dakota will challenge Northville.

The first two games on Tuesday were essentially mirror images for the Bucs. They trailed in Game 1 at 6-5, then took the lead and never trailed again, and in Game 2, fell behind 2-1, and were never in another hole. It boiled down to the fact that the Bucs’ hitters outperformed their counterparts.

“What stood out about them was their offensive power,” said Grand Rapids Christian coach Tiffannie Gates. “They were all swinging hard tonight. With us, we didn’t swing as hard as we have been and we just couldn’t get going. I don’t know if had anything to do with the girls knowing that there was a big block (Cole) waiting there. But when we had opportunities we couldn’t always capitalize.”

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

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