Varsity volleyball downs FHN by three sets on a bittersweet Senior Night

Varsity volleyball downs FHN by three sets on a bittersweet Senior Night

For seniors Sophie Shields, Brooklyn Connor, Sophia Galan, and Grace Hudkins, Thursday night might have been the last time they suited up to play at home.

“It was sad realizing that this will be our last year on this team with the players you’re so close with, but it was also amazing to play our heart out with each other,” Sophia said.

Forest Hills Central came into that varsity volleyball game ranked number eight in the state after defeating Byron Center on Tuesday and taking home a championship in a tournament at Jenison last weekend. Forest Hills Northern came into the contest ranked number ten in the state after respectfully defeating top-ranked Hudsonville, and number seven ranked Grand Rapids Christian.

The Rangers were fired up for the match-up after a hard day of practice, while the Huskies came into the match fresh off a day of rest and looking to bounce back after falling short to the Rangers earlier this year. Unfourtanly for the Huskies, a day of no practice would not be beneficial as the Rangers would sweep them in three complete sets by scores of 25-14, 25-15, 25-23.

All around, the team filled up the stat sheet. Seniors Brooklyn Connor and Sophie Shields lead the way for the team, as they combined for 20 kills, 1 solo block, 6 digs, and 8 receptions. Junior Sarah Dunn had another big game with 7 kills, a team-high 15 digs, and another team-high of 12 receptions.

This was a huge team victory; the Rangers will continue to climb the state ranking right before the postseason starts on Thursday, October 21. FHN has been a huge rival for Central in all sports for as long as anyone can remember, but during these last few years of volleyball competition, the games have only gotten more heated.

“Forest Hills Northern is truly a good team, and I don’t think our team would have had the same motivation if it was another opponent. But, being sister schools and rivals, Northern pulled out a spark in us that other schools hadn’t before, and it led us to victory. It was amazing to beat them on Senior Night though it was already a super great night, the win was the icing on the cake,” senior Grace Hudkins said.

The 32-4-2 Rangers are now moving on to league tournament action, where the postseason will soon begin. The Rangers face off against familiar inner conference faces such as Grand Rapids Christian, Forest Hills Northern, Byron Center, Lowell, Greenville, East Grand Rapids, and Northview. In conference games this season, the Rangers have played 11 matches and have come out victorious in 10 contests, including at tournaments. The Rangers will be able to host their first tournament of the season after having to travel out of conference to schools like Hudsonville and Jenison to compete in weekend events.

The youth of the team has proven to be a great combination with the veteran leadership of the seniors, and this team has been proven to be playoff-ready throughout the regular season.