It was a showcase of talent Tuesday afternoon at the Varsity Volleyball Double Dual meet in Grand Ledge. The Comets hosted DeWitt, Eaton Rapids, and Haslett in what turned out to be a spirited and even played meet. The competitive tone of the meet was set early during the first match between DeWitt and Eaton Rapids. DeWitt started off strong with a big lead, but Eaton Rapids steadily climbed back into it. Then DeWitt closed the door to win 25-12. The match didn’t feel nearly that distant as every point was hard fought and earned.
DeWitt’s head coach Kyle Anderson talked about the match afterwards. “I think that we came out a little flat, we had a flat day at practice yesterday which was disappointing. We were still in that mode today. It was disappointing that we weren’t even better than 25-12 in that first set. I think the passing that we had in that set saved us, and offensively we need to find a new gear. Credit to Eaton Rapids for the way they played us.”
It was teamwork and balance that drove DeWitt all afternoon. At times they found themselves in sync and executed their passes and plays to near perfection. DeWitt senior middle hitter Karen Collins explained. “We had Morgan (Nobach) on the outside and she just a powerhouse out there. I’ve never seen her play this well. Ellie (Robinson) is our youngest on the team, and she really stepped up today. She made an impact and got us some good points.”
Collins herself is adjusting to her role as senior leader for the team, and as evidenced she is doing a fantastic job of it. “I’m just trying to make everybody feel like they are part of the team, and helping everybody out when they can. If coach doesn’t have the chance to talk to somebody, I’ll help them out. To me being a leader is being somebody on the court that everyone can look to in times that we’re down. To be there just to bring everybody up and to be a big motivator for everybody on the court.”
Eaton Rapids fell behind early in their match up against DeWitt but returned strong. Something that was a challenge to say the least, but one that Greyhounds head coach Megan Greenberg took in stride.
“We start off pretty rough sometimes, and so we talked about just doing our job and making sure we are doing what we need to do on our side of the net. Keeping the ball on the court and then hopefully forcing mistakes for the other team that we play. We focused on what we need to do, and not what the other team is doing” When the Greyhounds were down early, they needed a steady force to reset them. That force came on the court in one of their senior captains Emma Price.
“Emma is our six rotation on the outside, so she plays all the way around. She plays really aggressive defense in the back row, and she leads the service so she talks to her teammates about everything she needs to do. When she gets up there, she will take some big swings and listen to what her teammates are telling her about what’s open and where to swing. She is doing a great job of keeping the ball in play, but also finding us ways to score.” Price used her patience and guidance to help her team, often shouting out directions, instructions, and encouragement to the younger players around her.
“With the first match we were definitely just warming up, but in the second match we really came together as a team and worked together.” Emma commented post game. “We had a lot of energy. We were cheering each other on and just having a lot of fun playing volleyball.”
Haslett went the distance against both Grand Ledge and DeWitt, extending the match to three sets each. “I think that one of the things we said in the huddle was that we were most proud of the fact that you couldn't tell what the score was if you watched this play. So, they were just as aggressive and committed on the first point as they were on the last one, regardless of if there was a gap (in the score) or not. So that was pretty exciting and we were celebrating the fact that we are chasing down balls and getting hands on things.” Head Coach Tennielle Whitmore said of her Haslett team. “I think that that is a collective effort that they've been working on since the summer and even before that really.They’re focusing on the good and finding the positive, even if it isn't a great play, that there had to be something about that play that we want to carry forward.”