Fruitport took the decision in straight sets (25-15, 25-12, 25-13), advancing to the district final match against Montague High School on Saturday.
“It’s great, it’s really exciting,” said Fruitport head coach Nicole Bayle of the finals appearance. “It’s been a few years since we have played for a district final. I think our kids deserve to be there and they showed that tonight.
“We had a roller coaster (season) to get here and this is great for them to feel that confidence and get a win over a team we really respect.”
The rivalry runs deep between these two teams and it showed from the first serve. The Trojans grabbed the first three marathon points and all the early momentum.
“I thought we played kind of flat in the first two sets,” said Spring Lake coach Hazekamp. “Playing Fruitport it is not hard to find that drive and that passion. This rivalry is always one the girls strive to play for and have that passion every point we play.
“Fruitport is an amazingly talented team, we had a really hard time putting anything down against their defense.”
Olivia Grimmer and Jenna Core led Spring Lake with four kills each.
The Trojan defense racked up nine blocks, dominating play at the net, while the backline grabbed 58 digs to save points. Kailey Carmean and Kelsey Shultz led the team with 12 apiece.
The spot-on defense created scoring opportunities a plenty; 27 assists gave way to 27 kills. Carmean led with 24 assists, while Katie Veihl led the kill count with six.
Isabel Donnelly led the Lakers with three blocks while Caitie Estep counted up a team-high 12 assists.
Grimmer was all over the court in her final appearance as a Laker, leading in aforementioned kills, as well as digs, with 18.
The journey was enough for Grimmer, who was proud of her team’s progress this season.
“We had a really good bonding experience,” said Grimmer. “We started playing Reeths-Puffer and didn’t do a great job, and here we are now playing to the best of our ability, I am so proud of how far we have come.”
Spring Lake graduates just two seniors from their district semifinal, 12-19, team this year. Coach Hazecamp plans to build on their success.
“I told the underclassmen to remember what this feels like and to work hard in the off season so we don’t have to feel this way again next year,” Hazekamp said.
As for Fruitport, they earned a date with Montague in the district final match on Saturday. Coach Bayle is confident in her team’s ability to play under pressure after a high emotion match with Spring Lake.
“I’m excited, I think we have a good shot,” Bayle said. “Montague is a good team, they have some high level players that we will have to work hard to defend. If we come out like we did today with adrenaline and control the net, we have a really good shot at being district champs.”
The district champion will be decided at 10 a.m. at Orchard View High School, with the winner advancing to the regional tournament and a matchup with Holland Christian on Nov. 8.