GRAND HAVEN - The Bucs hosted a 16-team invitational on Saturday with a strong field that included Ann Arbor Skyline, Novi and Lowell. Grand Haven was playing its second tournament in as many days after winning a round-robin tournament in Coopersville on Friday, but fatigue wasn’t a factor until late in the day, as the Bucs made it all the way to the final.
After sweeping their group of Grand Rapids Catholic Central, Traverse City West and Byron Center, the Bucs met Novi in the quarterfinals, where it took two hard-fought sets to knock off the Wildcats, as Grand Haven won 25-19, 25-23 to set up a semifinal with Skyline. In that match, the Bucs won the first set 25-19 before dropping the second, but rallied to win 15-12 in the third set.
In the final against Lowell, the toll of playing 11 matches in two days wore on the Bucs, as they lost in two sets to the Cardinals, 25-19 and 25-16. Ashley Slater was again in good form for Grand Haven, leading the team in aces and kills (11 and 64), while Sarah Knoll and Mackenzie Gross were next-best in kills with 24 and 15 respectively.
“It was an extremely strong field,” Grand Haven head coach Aaron Smaka said. “We’ve had some great matches with Novi over the years, we go back and forth with them. I think our kids are excited about some of the things we did against Lowell and they can’t wait to get to play them again. To come through the stretch we did and be 10-1 is outstanding, it wasn’t an easy couple of days.”
The Bucs will host another tournament on Tuesday before playing in the annual Battle on the Boardwalk on Friday afternoon.
WEST MICHIGAN CHRISTIAN - The Warriors headed to Grand Rapids on Friday for the WMVOA Scholarship Tournament, a 24-team event. After sweeping Grant, North Muskegon and Greenville in preliminary play, WMC beat Cedar Springs and Pewamo-Westphalia in the knockout stages to reach the final.
From there, the Warriors lost the first set to Zeeland West after starting the match down 11-1, but rallied to win the second set 25-22 before winning the final set 15-12 to take home the trophy. Alisha Leffring led the way statistically for WMC with 23 kills and 16 aces on the day.
“Down 1-11 in the 1st set of the finals, I wasn’t thinking we would be winning the tournament,” head coach Trent Smillie said. “We played very well in the second and third set to come out with the win. It was great to watch.”
On Saturday, WMC hosted the 7th annual Warrior Showdown D3 Invite. The Warriors tied for third with Covenant Christian. Schoolcraft won and Kalamazoo Christian was the runner-up.
FRUITPORT - The Trojans were another of the teams participating in Saturday’s tournament at Grand Haven, where they competed in a pool with Ann Arbor Skyline, Caledonia and West Ottawa.
With a strong caliber of opponents to face, the Trojans were unable to advance to the championship bracket. They won’t play a competitive match until Friday as part of the Battle on the Boardwalk.
SPRING LAKE - The Lakers were in action on Saturday as part of an invitational at Reeths-Puffer. After losing their first match to Mona Shores in two sets, Spring Lake beat the hosts in three sets (13-25, 25-15, 15-13) before losing their other three matches in the day. The Lakers came close to a win against Coldwater, winning their second set 25-13 to force a deciding third set, but came up just short, losing 15-12 to the Cavaliers.
“We are rolling with a pretty young team this fall,” Lakers head coach Cassidy Hazekamp said. “We certainly showed some nerves in the morning and struggled to get into any kind of rhythm. We also made a lot of unforced errors. Those things change with more experience and playing with each other more. I’m excited to see the growth from this team this season.”
The Lakers were also involved in a three-set match with North Muskegon, but lost the third set 15-7. Abbi Murphy and Alicia Mumby led the team in kills with 34 and 22 respectively. The Lakers will head to Hamilton on Tuesday for a tri-meet.
GRAND HAVEN - Even with a combination of injuries, vacations and SAT testing, the Bucs headed to Zeeland East on Saturday as part of a five-team tournament. After a pair of tight losses to Petoskey and St. Joseph’s, Grand Haven recovered to beat Zeeland West 5-3, making for a 1-2 record on the day.
“We were missing a few key guys,” Bucs head coach Chris Wilton said. “We were without nine years of varsity experience in three guys, but the team played hard and competed until the end.”
No. 1-singles player Noah Bachmann won all of his matches, one by default, while freshman Isaac Postema won two out of three at 2-singles, only losing a tight match to Petoskey’s Charlie Pizzuti.
Elsewhere, there were plaudits from Wilton for Jared Englert, Brandon Kilpatrick and Alex Waite, who moved up to the varsity for Saturday’s matches. Englert and Kilpatrick nearly won their match against St. Joseph’s and came close to winning against Zeeland West as well, falling just short at 7-5, 6-4.
Juniors AJ Koster and Ian Rant won a tight match at 2-doubles against Zeeland West, winning a super-tiebreak 10-8, while Tyler DeGram won two of three matches at 4-singles.
The Bucs will play next on Wednesday, as they host Mona Shores before facing Big Rapids at home the following day.
WEST MICHIGAN CHRISTIAN - On Saturday in Muskegon, the Warriors were involved in the MCC Invitational on the Muskegon Catholic Central campus. Racing with all teams, but being scored against fellow Division 3 and 4 teams, the WMC girls team finished atop the Green Division, beating Muskegon Catholic by three points.
Abby VanderKooi had the day off, but Ava Rotman finished second with a time of 21:40. Elsewhere, there were medals for Brianna Zuidema (12th, 24:04), Emma Visker (14th, 24:18), Natalie Risken (21st, 25:21) and Jessica Eenigenburg (30th, 27:36).
The boys team finished second in the Green Division of their race, falling short by four points to Holland Black River. There were top-ten finishes for Jonathan Clausing (4th, 19:24), Caleb Croff (5th, 19:24) and Ben Waldo (6th, 19:25) while Pierce Newell, Tyler Gould and Noah Ferrier all finished in the top 30 runners.
Both teams will be in action on Wednesday in Grand Haven. The girls will race first at 4:30 p.m.
Not seeing your team’s scores? Contact the sports desk at 616-842-6400 ext. 228.