MUSKEGON – The Fruitport volleyball team’s season came to an end Wednesday in a four-set district semifinal loss to Montague.
“We knew that we were going to be playing against a good opponent,” Fruitport coach Nicole Bayle said. “We caught lightning in a bottle a little bit the last time we played them. I knew that we were going to have to really control the pace of the game to be successful. I’m proud of the way our girls played, obviously we don’t like to lose but our girls gave a great effort tonight.”
The Trojans came out of the gate strong in set one and battled hard early leading 15-11 before Montague stormed back. The score was tied at 18 when Montague started to move ahead of the Trojans and take control of the set. The Wildcats used the late push to take a back and forth set one 25-21.
The Wildcats rode the momentum into the next set and built a 12-5 lead before the Trojans called a timeout. The lead continued to grow as Montague’s outside hitters continued to put pressure on the Fruitport defense and Montague took set two 25-16.
The Trojans responded by controlling set number three.
“We were serving tough. We were in control of that first contact. They struggled to get the ball to the target,” Bayle said. “We knew that we were going to have to make them pass poorly and that’s what happened in game three. Then our offense started clicking and caught some people off guard and that was great. We just weren’t able to carry that into game four. I love the way our seniors led us tonight, they played fearless.”
The Trojans jumped out to an early lead in set three and was ahead 13-7 when Montague called their first timeout. From there, the Trojans held off the comeback attempt from the Wildcats and an ace from Jesse Paquin secured the 25-15 set victory.
The final set of the match was tightly contested in the beginning with both teams being tied at 11. The Wildcats pulled ahead 14-12 when Fruitport took a timeout. The Wildcats had already started pulling away however and the Trojans could not put together a run to get the match to a decisive fifth set. Montague took the final set 25-18.
Brooke Sieplinga led the way for the Fruitport attack with 6 kills. She was followed closely by Ellie Fisher and Madalyn Fett who each had five. Jenna VanderVelde and Jesse Paquin recorded all of the team’s assists, VanderVelde had 16 and Paquin tallied 10.
Sydney Woods was strong behind the service line with 3 aces, Paquin had two and Fett and VanderVelde each had one. Kennadi Dykstra was the leader defensively with 17 digs. VanderVelde followed with nine and Sydney Bol finished with eight.
“We have a great group of seniors and they have done everything I’ve asked them to do. Even when it was outside their comfort zone, they really pushed because they wanted to succeed,” Bayle said.