Schoolcraft volleyball competed in two tournaments in August, finishing a combined 6-3-1. In both the Gull Lake Invitational and the Otsego Bulldog Classic the Eagles won the Silver Bracket.
“I am happy with our efforts and see improvements from all the players,” Head Coach Erin Onken said. “We have a long way to go, but the girls are working hard.”
The Eagles return five players who have already had significant impact this season. Senior Jayci Suseland and junior Madie Hybels have been strong on the net. Suseland has already accumulated 122 kills and 16 blocks. Hybels leads the state in blocks with 23 and has added 56 kills. These numbers are impressive when you consider that eight out of ten matches have only been two sets (a normal varsity match is winning three sets out of five) due to the tournaments’ format.
Junior setter Jessica Budlong has been able to get the ball to Suseland and Hybels where they can do the most damage. Budlong has 233 assists and has been a devastating server, leading the team with 13 aces and 53 service points. Senior Hannah Huysken has been a strong leader of the Eagles’ defense. As the libero, she leads the team in digs with 85. While Onken expects all the players to be able to play the ball from anywhere on the court, junior Sophie Woodhams has been especially versatile. She has been aggressive on the net with 19 kills and 2 blocks. She is also third on the team with 47 digs. Woodhams is second on the team with 47 service points and has even helped out Budlong by adding 4 assists.
Onken is especially happy with the development of the younger players. Sophomore Brooke Crissman and freshman Kelsey Feddema have started the season strong for the Eagles. Feddema has 26 kills and 8 blocks, which has taken some pressure off Suseland and Hybels in the middle of the net. Crissman has added 46 kills from the outside and 44 digs.
“I think Feddema has surprised herself with the success,” Onken said. “As she becomes a bigger part of our offense, her confidence is growing, which takes pressure off of Jayci and Madie.”
Schoolcraft has high expectations within the volleyball program. Early in the season, Onken is looking for the players to begin to force the pace of play. So far in 2015, it has been up and down for the Eagles.
“We have to come into bracket play with a different mentality,” Hybels said. “Early in this season there have been leaps and bounds of improvement from every player on the team. Now we have to work on bringing it all together earlier in tournaments so we are in a better position heading into bracket play.”
Schoolcraft plays at Battle Creek Lakeview in a quad before starting league play September 15 at home against Lawton.