Wyoming, MI: Hosting the Mustangs of Marygrove College for the last home match was something Coach Spooner had set up since last year. “Going into regionals the last two years we have really struggled not playing the Tuesday before and this year I wanted to play one of the tougher teams we face all year. Marygrove just set a school record 18 wins this year, are well coached and have tremendous athletes. I just wanted our team to find their heart.”
For the first set and a half it looked like the Tigers might not even find a heartbeat while giving their coach a heart attack but then things started to change. “We called a time out and I just told everyone to breath out the ugly. Be a team. Relax and play the game they love. So much emotion for our seniors and the other players wanting to play better. But being down 21-4 wasn’t what we had in mind.” Coach Spooner said. But the Tiger pulse quickened, though losing that second set 25-12, and that aggressive teamwork carried into the third set. This time the Tigers ran with the Mustangs and played some of their most intense ball of the year, eventually losing 25-19.
“That is the play we’ve been asking for all year long. We find that against teams we are supposed to beat but against a high quality opponent I want them to find each player coming together and fighting to become a team. Not only that but we kept our composure and testimony as well.” Coach Spooner said. Although he noted that the head coach struggled with that at times. “I just want these ladies to taste what it means to love each other as a team and fight for that with all their hearts. I saw that tonight in the last part of the second set carried into the third and couldn’t have been more proud especially for our three seniors.”
Now the second season begins as the Tigers travel to Watertown, WI and Maranatha Baptist for the regional tournament opening Friday against Moody Bible Institute. “Moody is a great team ranked top ten all year. I hope we can be competitive with them and stay within ourselves as a team.” Coach Spooner said, remembering the 3 set loss to Moody earlier in the season.
On the night the Tiger attack was led by Joee Spooner and Naomi Kemper with 11 and 8 kills respectively. Jess Ryan had 14 assists but 8 of them in the 3rd set. Joee playing in her last home match had 2 solo blocks and 2 assists. Naomi Kemper had 13 digs along with Nichole Galbicsek and Leslie Pumford with 7 each. Tabitha Ryan also played exceptionally well with passing and serve receive.
The Tigers wish to thank Coach Rich Renzema for all his hard work in making home matches a great experience for the fans. As well as all the workers and especially the fans including many faculty and staff of Grace Bible College.