Thursday night the Tigers found out what kind of team they can be when focusing on fundamentals and playing together. Rochester College, coming in with a 18-6 match record and ranked in the USCAA top 3 all season had just pounded the Tigers last week and so a rematch tonight would test the character of the youthful team from Grace.
And what a test it turned out to be with the host Tigers losing 3-2 before a wildly enthusiastic crowd in the Aldrich Athletic Center. After losing in the first set 18-25 but fighting hard, the Tigers played excellent team defense and with intelligent placement of attacks to knock the Warriors on their heels, winning the next two sets. Finding themselves up 2-1 going into the fourth set Coach Spooner knew this could be a great step in the right direction. “I just wanted the ladies to realize what it takes to play at this level with consistency and understand what competing for every point really means. Up 2-1, you can’t let down but must push even harder.” Rochester however showed their own resilience and coaching adjustments to pull out a hard fought victory dominating the last two sets.
Once again the Tigers found a solid balanced attack with Naomi Kemper, Joey Spooner getting 8 kills each and Nichole Galbiescek with 7. Senior Amanda Wall led the team with 4 serving aces and only one error, serving a team high 18 times. Setter Laura Melton had 16 assists and 16 digs. Naomi led the team with 19 digs out of the team’s 71. Tabitha Ryan had 17 digs. Joey Spooner, who leads the NCCAA nationally in blocking had 3 solo and 4 block assists. Overall Coach Spooner was pleased with the effort noting, “We have stressed the importance of coming together as a team after every point and focusing on a ‘Right here Right now’ philosophy. I felt tonight was a big step in learning how valuable that really is. Especially in the game of volleyball. We honestly believed we could win. That’s essential for a team attitude that seeks to honor God’s investment of talent by striving to ‘do all things to His excellency’. I was very proud of our team effort tonight.”
The Tigers travel this weekend to Lake Zurich, Ill for a tri-match with ACCA rivals, Dayspring Bible College and Emmaus Bible.