Lansing, MI.: You would think losing all three matches this weekend in the Great Lakes Pre-Season Invitational would be discouraging to the Tiger volleyball coaching staff. “Not at all, ” Coach John Spooner said following a four set loss to Northland International University today. “We have had to make some changes since losing several freshman from last years team. Especially at setter, with Jessica Ryan (Hopkins HS), converting from libero who did a great job this weekend. We learned so much more about ourselves just playing and with more changes coming, I feel very confident about this teams future.”
Indeed Ryan, had 29 assists and 9 digs adjusting to a new role after only 3 days of practice with the team. “The one thing about this team so far, is that we are scrappy and get after every point.” Assistant Coach Jessica Keizer noted. “I just love these girls.”
The biggest area of need for the Tigers will be in minimizing mistakes. “We had 26 attack errors, 8 service errors and numerous points given away trying to make something happen that just fell short or long. But I’d much rather see us trying to be aggressive in creativity than always reacting.” Coach Spooner said. “We did have 42 kills and 9 blocks. That is huge for us to build on.”
Naomi Kemper led the team in digs with 22 and also had 13 kills. Joee Spooner led the team in kills with 15 and 5 blocks. She was also team leader in aces with 6 and selected to the All-Tournament Team. Nichole Galbicsek, coming back from a knee injury last year had a solid 8 kills and 15 digs. “It was great watching Nichole play because for the first time she just played her game and not worry about the injury. Her serving was outstanding along with defense.”
Tabitha Ryan had 14 digs and 5 assists. Aubree Domsic, (East Kentwood HS) had 3 kills and 14 digs along with 4 assists. “Aubree is a solid player with great fundamentals having played at one of the top Class A teams in the State of Michigan. We look for a solid future for her as a Tiger.” Coach Spooner pointed out about his freshman RS hitter.
Leslie Pumford, with 6 kills, 2 blocks and 7 digs was solid on the front row. “Leslie is one of three seniors this year and it shows in her mindset and hard work. Anna Veldink (Zion Christian); April Lorenz (Hopkins HS); and Jessica Sidebottom (Cope, Colorado) round out the remaining freshman class.
The Tigers travel next week to Lincoln, IL to play in a tri-match with perennial national powerhouse Lincoln Christian University and Eureka College.