After an unusual warm-up sequence the Tigers weren’t expecting, Coach John Spooner was a bit concerned how the team would start out. “Honestly when Aquinas called the first time-out with us leading 10-4, I truly wasn’t that shocked. When we play within ourselves and minimize errors, we are a very dangerous team. But I also know the depth and quality of program Aquinas has and how good Coach Dave Rawles is and they would come back strong.”
Indeed the Saints got over their sluggish start and behind some excellent serving came back to defeat the Tigers 25-16 in the first set. “This is a very good team, much like the top 3 or 4 teams in the NCCAA Div. II, so we want to play teams like this learning about ourselves and start to believe in ourselves. Can we compete for every point? How will we respond to adversity of play?” Coach Spooner said.
The Saints would continue their dominance winning the second set 25-9. Although the score wasn’t close the Tigers played some great defense and would send the ball back over in play only to have the power of Aquinas front line prove too much. “We worked hard on blocking and I thought when we got touches the defense did well. We just have to learn to minimize our mistakes and concentrate on what we should be doing best; serving and ball control.”
The Saints would win the third set 25-5. “This can be a great growth experience for us if we learn from it. We are going to play several other scholarship schools so we want to build on this for the season. There were flashes of great play in this match that as we grow can help us become more consistent and confident as a team.”
Coach Spooner also appreciated the classiness of Aquinas as well. “Coach Rawles and his staff should great respect to our program and Aquinas College were great hosts. I think that is also part of playing a higher level program. Their players demonstrated the ultimate in volleyball gamesmanship; no humiliating display of arrogance, just play the game hard with discipline and poise. I hope those are also life lessons for our ladies too. Regardless of the the circumstances you always are reflecting Christ in us, one way or the other.” Coach Spooner said after the match.
The Tigers finally open home at the Aldrich Athletic Center Tuesday night against Kuyper College; 7:00pm. This is opening day t-shirt night after the second set. Serve and win a shirt.