History was made for the first time in 15 years, as the Tigers were undefeated going into the championship match with the #5 ranked team in the NCCAA Div. II-Moody Bible Institute.
In the first match of the day the Tigers fought off a solid scrappy Ohio Christian University 3-1. “The only thing I knew about Ohio was off the web sites and that doesn’t tell you anything about their energy and getting to every ball. I think we were still in the emotion of the night before and started off a little sluggish” Coach Spooner said after that first set.
The Tigers won in a convincing way again behind stellar serving by Shelby Jamieson who ended the match with 5 aces out of a team high of 13. In the second set Ohio Christian almost blew a 8 pt lead with the Tigers squaring the set at up 24-24. A Tiger error and Ohio kill gave them the set 26-24. In the third again the Tigers struggled early to find their energy but when they did, Ohio couldn’t handle the Tiger prescience at the net losing 25-21 and much the same in the fourth as the Tigers pulled way at the end and won 25-20.
Nichole Galbiscek led the Tigers with 14 kills, while Jessica Ryan had 14 digs and Naomi Kemper with 4 aces. Good balanced attack again was a significant key for the Tigers. “Most teams have one and sometimes two go to players for hitting. We have 5. That is a big advantage we need to take care of more.” Coach Spooner said. Leslie Pumford had a season high of 10 kills with only 3 errors.
The Tigers now 3-0 in tournament play met the Moody Bible Archers in the championship match. Immediately the Tigers found themselves down by 8 points 15-7. “You can’t dig yourself that big of a hole against a well coached and experienced team like Moody.” Coach Spooner noted. The Archers won that first set 25-15.
In the second set though the Tigers of the night before showed up. Great defensive hustle and digs kept the Tigers in this set the entire time. Indeed after a Joee Spooner kill and block the Tigers were up 22-16. Moody started to come back but the Tiger focus never wavered and with good aggressive ball placement the Tigers won 25-19.
In the third set Moody’s outside hitter Audra Lehman, a three time All-Regional selection came up with some big kills of her own and Moody took that set easily 25-10.
Going into the fourth set the goal was simply to stay active fighting for every point. Dig after dig and long rallies were the hallmark of this set. The Tigers twice had set point but gave it away with uncharacteristic errors. Ahead 24-23, the Tigers lost serve and quickly found themselves down. But never quiting, they fought off game point until losing 26-24.
“I was very encouraged for the most part with our energy and playing as a team. We come away realizing we can play with these higher level teams. And not just playing with them but actually believe we can beat them.” Coach Spooner said after the match.
Joey Spooner led the Tiger attack with 12 out of a team high of 44 kills. Shelby Jamieson had 34 assists along with 5 kills and 11 digs. Again that balanced scoring with Naomi having 11 kills and Nichole 10.
The Tigers had captured 2nd place in the tournament. “I told the girls not to think of this as playing for a championship but compete to win every point. That is all that matters to some though.
The Tigers travel to cross town rival Kuyper College Tuesday the 11 of October.