Grand Haven lost the first two games in Friday’s Class A volleyball state semifinals to Temperance Beford, but battled back valiantly.
The Bucs won Game 3 to extend the match, and nearly battled back from a 22-14 deficit in Game 4, climbing all the way back to 24-23 before Foster’s kill split a pair of Bucs’ blockers and hit the court.
“I don’t know how far down we were, but I knew it wasn’t over,” said Buccaneers’ all-state senior Abby Cole, who finished with 20 kills, four aces, four digs and three blocks in her final prep contest.
Cole was the primary focus of Temperance Beford’s outstanding defense, and she struggled at times during the match, drawing chants of “Over-rated,” from the Mules’ raucous crowd. But she proved that she’s every bit as talented as her reputation in Game 4, hammering down three consecutive kills to bring her team back to within three points at 23-21.
A double touch and a hit long by the Mules made it 24-23, but a Foster’s kill ended it for Temperance Bedford, which will take on Macomb Dakota in today’s Class A title match.
“Game 4, we were at such an emotional high on that comeback,” Cole said. “Obviously, this is one of the toughest things to do, coming this far and then having such a tough loss.”
The Buccaneers had won 33 of their last 34 games dating back to the O-K Red Conference tournament in late October, but they had none of that momentum on their side when Friday’s semifinals began. Instead, it was Temperance Bedford that took control early, racing to a quick 7-2 lead thanks to four Grand Haven hitting and serving errors.
The Bucs clawed back to tie the game at 7-7 on back-to-back kills by Taylor Craymer, and the match remained tied to 11-11 before Bedford’s Nicole Rightnowar took over the serve and reeled off three straight points.
The Mules slowly pulled away, and Grand Haven didn’t help itself with several more hitting errors. Back-to-back kills by Cole closed the score to 24-20, but Foster put one to the floor to win the first game for Bedford.
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