The Spring Lake volleyball team had been playing Cinderella the past two weeks, but the ball ended on Thursday night.
Spring Lake fell to Grand Rapids South Christian in their Class B regional final, 3-0.
The Lakers defeated Coopersville and Whitehall last week to win their first district since 1996, and beat Forest Hills Eastern on Tuesday night for their first regional win ever, but South Christian proved to be too much.
“We came up (short) against a very good Grand Rapids South Christian team,” coach Sarah Bulthuis said. “My hats are off to them, they outplayed us. They caused a lot of chaos on our side.
“I thought we serve received OK. But they frustrated my hitters with their blocking, and their picking up of our tips. They frustrated my defense when they were hitting — we couldn’t dig a ball, we couldn’t get blocks. We maybe got some touches and tools, but we only got a couple of blocks. They caused a lot of that frustration. They caused a lot of chaos on our side that made a lot of things very inconsistent for us. South Christian is just good — they’re good.”
South Christian blew through the first two games, 25-9, 25-12. The Sailors defenders got to seemingly every ball, and their hitters put their height advantage to good use at the net.
Spring Lake appeared nervous.
“It was a big moment for them, it was a big game,” Bulthuis said. “But you know, we had nerves in districts against Coopersville and Whitehall and those close matches, we had nerves against Forest Hills Eastern, and we were able to play past it in those games. Today we just couldn’t get that blood pressure and adrenaline under control like we were able to previously in the last two weeks.”
The Lakers came out strong in Game 3, taking an early lead. The Sailors responded to every point though, tying the game at 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, before blocking a Lakers’ kill attempt to take a 7-6 lead. South Christian blocked Spring Lake on the next two possessions as well.
Spring Lake stayed with South Christian until late, though, utilizing the defensive adjustments Bulthuis had installed in Game 2 and not giving up on their offense.
Read more of this story in today's print edition or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.