The Trojans defeated rival Spring Lake in an emotional opening round match, followed by a three-set win over Orchard View in the semifinal and a hard-fought, four-set win over Whitehall to capture their second straight district championship.
Up next for Fruitport is a match with Grand Rapids Catholic Central in the Class B regional semifinals at 6 p.m. today at Orchard View High School.
“We played them at the Byron Center Invitational earlier in the season,” said Fruitport head coach Nicole Bayle. “They are a very worthy opponent and it will definitely be a Class B battle against them.
“We know we have to bring the same intensity to this match that we brought to the Spring Lake match last week. They are a well-balanced team with a lot of different contributors. They have really strong outside hitters, and they also play excellent team defense.”
The Cougars are led on offense by junior outside hitters Lindsay Luczak and Abby Morin. The two heavy hitters lead the team in kills and will be formidable foes for the Trojan defense to match up with.
Senior libero Adrien Yondo, along with senior setter Emily Dubinsky and junior setter Eliza Brown headline the Cougars’ defense.
“Both teams play great defense, so I think the team that is able to serve and pass better on Tuesday will probably end up keeping their season alive,” said Bayle. “We feel pretty confident with how well we’ve been passing the ball lately, but we can’t have lapses against a quality team like Catholic Central. They will make us pay if we get out of system or don’t handle first contact well.”
Bayle believes the experience her young squad gained in last year’s regional tournament will help them be more comfortable this time around.
“It helps when a lot of the returning players on our roster have at least experienced the stage of regionals,” she said. “I don’t have to motivate them for this match, because most of them felt like they didn’t play as well as they should have last year. They’ve wanted to get back here all season, and now they have a chance to redeem themselves.”
The winner of today’s match will advance to Thursday’s regional finals (7 p.m.) against the winner of Grant and Grand Rapids South Christian.