Wednesday night was a showcase of Junior talent for the Kent City Eagles as they met the White Cloud Indians in their season openers in Kent City, Michigan.
The Eagles wasted no time and jumped out in front of the Indians in each of the first two sets. Fans at The Nest watched with breath held tight, however, as the White Cloud varsity volleyball team dropped an absolute hammer on Kent City in the third.
After gaining the 2-0 set advantage, Kent City struggled to break the Indian’s serving momentum in the third and allowed the Indians to make a dominant run on route to a 20+ point margin over the Eagles to bring the match to 2-1.
The Eagles bounced back in the fourth set, battling back and forth in what became a very close contest and seemed to showcase a more accurate representation of how the two squads were matched. Juniors Erica Bull (MH) and Jenna Harrison (S) managed to keep the set close through a combination of well-targeted attacks, though White Cloud would go on to win the fourth set.
The Eagles found themselves falling behind again in the fifth, trailing 11-6 with little momentum on their side. However, things started to shift behind the back line as Harrison and fellow Junior, Jasmine Weeks, gave White Cloud’s serve receive fits and managed to gain the advantage several times as the Indian’s fell out of system or were met by blocking pressure at the net.
The tide really began to shift as Junior outside hitter, Hannah Vander Lugt, got hot from the outside, driving several consecutive balls at the White Cloud defense and applied consistent pressure that had been missing the previous two sets.
Kent City gained the lead on a wild volley that relied on several quick reactions as they seemingly willed themselves to reach balls to keep the play alive. They did not look back.
The Eagles pushed the game to 14-13 before ending the game at 15-13, giving the hometown fans the satisfaction of a full night of volleyball and a hard-fought win. The relief was palpable as Kent City dodged a bullet in the opener and pulled out a scrappy victory before tensions released into celebration near mid-court.
Stay tuned for more CSAA coverage this season.