Final effort from varsity volleyball falls short, Rockford takes Regional Final


The Rangers would consistently return the ball and go back and forth between possessions; however, they couldn’t finish it off. The regional final between FHC and Rockford was far from boring; fast scoring streaks would lead to impactful runs for each team. But, throughout the match, the Rangers could not narrow down the Rams’ lead.

Rockford found a way to take set one by a tight score of 25-23. Then, the Rams would come out hot and make several short scoring runs that eventually ended in a 25-14 victory in the second set. The Rangers nipped away at Rockford’s lead time and time again; yet, the Rams would keep finding ways to push their lead out just enough to hold on. Still, the Rangers stayed in the game, making it go back and forth between points until the Rams took the 24-23 lead. The next point would give FHC one more chance to tie the game, but the ball did not land in-bounds, giving the Rams the final set 25-23.

Unfortunately for the Lady Rangers, this would end a historical season for FHC volleyball. It finished with a final record of 42-6-3 and several inner-season tournament wins. The Rangers would win tournaments such as the Battle of the Hills between all of the schools in the Forest Hills District, and also took home several weekend tournaments at Jenison and Caledonia High School. FHC would also take home the crown in the OK White Conference after a three-game win streak led the Rangers into the playoffs.

“At the start of the season, we met as a team and set our overall goals for the season. This team set their goals to be realistic but also set them high in order to reach for the highest goals they could. They were determined to put FHC Volleyball on the map,” spoke head coach Natalie Roelfzema. “They knew that to be their best they needed to play the best and play at a high level. With these goals in mind, this team worked hard every day to accomplish their goals which is what many fans viewed throughout this season. Playing the top teams and winning tournaments showed this team that their hard work daily in practice paid off but also showed them that they had the talent to go far this season.”

From the beginning of the season, the senior class provided enough charisma and energy to help bring in this young core properly so that the team would excel early. A returning varsity player like Sarah Dunn and newcomers such as sophomore Kadence Roelfzema and junior Averie Zaschak quickly broke out and made efficient plays during their time on the court. With the blend of the youth and the strong veteran leadership, FHC was destined to have a strong season from the start.

“The relationship between everyone was always the strongest,” said senior Sophia Galan. “Having these girls around us for our last ride was special. As seniors, we always tried to encourage and help coach up the younger girls. They were the perfect blend to have with us all year long.”

The senior class only contained four girls but was so impactful on the court. Arguably one of the best groups of seniors in the state, the class was made up of Galan, Grace Hudkins, Sophie Shields, and Brooklyn Conner to get the job done on the court.

“This year’s seniors stepped it up to lead this varsity team which is partly why we were so successful. They led the way to show their teammates what it is like to be leaders and the legacy they wanted to leave behind,” mentioned coach Roelfzema. “The seniors will be missed greatly and I know that they have left big shoes to fill. However, their leadership has provided the future leaders of FHC volleyball with an example that will be followed for years to come. This team has worked hard to develop a culture of what they want FHC Volleyball to embody. I am so proud of this team and all they have stood for and accomplished this season.”

In conference play, the Rangers dominated over and over again. For the first time in several years, FHC swept both FHN and Lowell while only losing one game in-conference with a split series versus Grand Rapids Christain.

“It meant leaving a legacy, leaving a mark. We as seniors watched us fail to complete many of these accomplishments in the years before, so we did everything possible to prepare for the season ahead. Winning conferences and districts were just a couple of the tangible accomplishments that proved our efforts were a success,” spoke Shields.