Bucs' volleyball rises to the occasion

Haven tops rival Rockford in battle of top 10 teams
Nich Wolak
Sep 6, 2013

The No. 5 ranked Grand Haven volleyball team went 2-1 in its home quad Thursday night, including a victory over No. 8 ranked and perennial rival Rockford.

Grand Haven started off with a dominant performance against Cedar Springs. The Buccaneers won 25-8, 25-9.

“We really played really well in that first game,” head coach Aaron Smaka said. “We controlled the tempo, and we served well. We controlled the ball, and everyone got a chance to get in. It was a fun game.”

The Bucs met their match in Stevensville-Lakeshore, losing both games by identical 25-20 scores.

Grand Haven had the Lancers tied 20-20 late in Game 1, but Stevensville-Lakeshore scored five unanswered points to close.

“We did not play well,” Smaka said. “It was disappointing how we played in that match. We didn’t adjust to what they were doing. They had their big blocker on the right-hand side, and we just keep feeding balls out her. She affected the game for sure. … We didn’t do the things we need to win the game. We passed poorly. They passed better. We missed a ton of serves. And it’s hard to win volleyball games if you don’t pass and serve well.”

The Bucs came out strong after the loss, starting off with an 8-0 lead against No. 8 Rockford in Game 1.

But the Rams came back, tying the score at 20 before eventually pulling away 25-22.

Game 2 was a back-and-forth affair, with the score coming to a tie on 10 different occasions.

The Bucs went on to win 27-25, before also taking the tie-breaking third game, 15-13.

Smaka said that it was nice to end the night on a high-note — a high note that was brought about by getting back to fundamentals and their bread and butter. 

 “Our serving and passing really struggled tonight, but I think in that second and third game we did a better job of executing, and we did a better job of passing the ball,” Smaka said. “We were able to run middle. We weren’t able to run middle against Stevensville-Lakeshore. That’s one of our strengths. We like to go fast, we like to run a fast offense, but everything was slow against Stevensville-Lakeshore. We were much quicker, much more intense in that last match against Rockford.

“I’m proud of my kids for having a short memory, and being able to turn it around after that disappointing loss. They were pretty upset after that loss, but they responded well against Rockford.”

Leading the way for the Buccaneers was senior setter Jami Hogeboom with 58 asssists and four blocks.

Autumn Monsma had a well-rounded night with 10 kills, five aces and four blocks.

Page VanOordt also had five aces.

Krysteena Davis had 15 kills and nine blocks. Amy Kober chipped in 16 kills of her own, to go with four blocks. Taylor Cramer also had a nice night at the net with 12 kills.

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