Another powerful weekend leads to success for varsity volleyball

Another powerful weekend leads to success for varsity volleyball

Not one, not two, not three, not four, but five more wins add to the pile of the number two team in the state, according to MaxPreps.

The varsity volleyball team is off to one of the hottest starts in school history, and so far, there is no slowing it down. After starting the season 12-1, the Rangers moved on to a big weekend of six more games. Earlier in their busy week, on August 31, the Rangers took down Wayland in a clean sweep and then moved on to a narrow 2-1 win over their cross-town rival in Grand Rapids Christian.

Last Friday, the Rangers would open up with Livonia Churchill, which turned into a quick 2-0 sweep for FHC to open up the long weekend. With victories of 25-8 and 25-16, these games saw senior Brooklyn Conner and junior Sarah Dunn lead the way with 8 kills each, along with 8 solo blocks—7 of which came from Conner—and 5 combined digs. After this, FHC won another key contest by sweeping Grand Rapids Catholic Central. This time, the Rangers faced more resistance in 25-14 and 25-16 games, but the trio of Brooklyn, Sarah, sophomore Avery Weslow, and senior Sophie Shields led the offense with impressive performances.

This team has depth, and it’s been crystal clear since day one. Head coach Natalie Roelfzema has seen this depth firsthand.

“Anyone that has come to watch FHC Volleyball play can see that we have a very versatile team. Yes, we have dominant players on this team, but we have many go-to players that it is hard to highlight just one. We have seasoned players (Sophie shield and Brooklyn Connor-4 yr varsity starters) that are great and valuable assets to the team,” coach Roelfzema said. “We also have Sarah Dunn (3-year varsity starter), Avery Weslow (2-year varsity starter), other seniors that show great leadership and skill Grace Hudkins and Sophia Galan. All around, this team has great depth and players that are working hard each and every day. One change to this season from last season was the loss on varsity in the setting position (graduated 2 senior setters). We have a junior and a sophomore that has stepped into the setting role and have done a great job working on running a multifaceted offense which has contributed to part of this team’s overall success.”

Unfortunately for the Rangers, they would hit a roadblock with a tough matchup versus Northville. FHC kept it close in both sets but ended up falling short 19-25 and 23-25.

Coach Roelfzema was not worried about the loss, though, as her expectations remain high for this team.

“My expectations for this team, in general, is that they will go as far as they dream and set their mind to from conversations with the team that is all the way. So to say I have big expectations is an understatement. This senior class is special as they are well skilled in the game of volleyball but also investing their commitment, encouragement, and time into the younger athletes within their team and program. What I do know is, with this senior class leading athletes in the program, FHC Volleyball is destined for great things this season,” coach Roelfzema said.

The next three games showed why this team has been so successful. The Rangers cooked up a storm versus North Muskegon, Grand Haven, and Leland High, respectfully beating all three teams in two sets. These games saw faces like senior Sophia Galan and juniors Kate Hotaling and Averie Zaschak make bigger impacts and help FHC succeed. Sophia was quite excited to have a good weekend like this since it just keeps pushing the team chemistry up.

“It has benefited us by making us closer as a team on and off the court and boosting our team confidence knowing we beat such a good team this past week,” said Galan.

Looking ahead, FHC travels to Forest Hills Northern High School, where they will face both Forest Hills Northern and Forest Hills Eastern in the coveted Battle of the Hills. The 17-2 Rangers will look to win the tournament for the third year in a row, and Brooklyn Conner is looking to set the tone early for her team.

“Our goal is to win for the 3rd year in a row and send a message that we aren’t a team that can be beaten so easily,” Brooklyn said.