FHC Volleyball Finishes 3-1 in the EK Classic

FHC Volleyball Finishes 3-1 in the EK Classic

Kyle Peirce, Sports Reporter

After a long day of volleyball, it would make sense for a team to lose a little bit of energy.

That wasn’t the case for FHC today, as they stepped on the throttle.  The Rangers high intensity led to a 3-1 record at the EK Classic.

The Rangers (9-3 overall) defeated Holland Christian, Forest Hills Eastern, and Catholic Central.  The only loss the Rangers suffered today came from the Rockford Rams.

FHC started off the first match a little slow, falling down 14-17 in the 1st set. This was the case, until sophomore Katrina Bodkins caught fire serving up 4 aces to swing the momentum in FHC’s favor. With the newfound energy, the Rangers would go on to win the set 25-21.

When asked about the keys to that first set, Katrina said, “Definitely lots of energy, coming out really hot and playing aggressive and covering.”

In the 2nd set of the first match, FHC took control early thanks to miscues by Holland Christian. The result, an easy FHC win. In the next game, the Rangers had a match up with Rockford, one of the top teams in the state. FHC battled hard, but had trouble stopping Rockford’s lightning-fast spikes.

“They were very aggressive, and had really good defensive ball control,” said junior Kendall Gardner about the only loss of the day.

Kendall was one of the most impressive players of the day, being put in a different role for the first 2 games with seniors Emily Wiltz and Bri Tilton absent. Normally an outside hitter, Kendall was asked to be a setter for the first two games.

“I used to be a setter,” Kendall said. “It’s kinda weird getting back into it because it’s completely different and it takes a lot of technique to be a good setter. When you’re not doing it constantly, it’s kind of hard.”

Coach Lauren Heinz was satisfied with how Kendall did in the different role.

“She did a great job,” Heinz said. “She had a lot of great sets, she pushed the ball out to our pin hitters, and played good defense.”

After a short intermission, FHC headed back onto the court to face FHE, a team that they had just faced earlier in the week. After trading points early on, the Rangers took the lead thanks to the defensive play from sophomore Audrey Tubbs, who made several diving digs to keep plays alive.

“The key is to stay on your toes and just be ready for anything,” Audrey said. “There is never an exact thing that is gonna happen and it changes every time.”

Audrey is a Libero, a defensive specialist position, and was able to defend and set the team up for kill situations time and time again.

“A Libero runs the backcourt,” Audrey explained. “You take control of defense, you’re always in the back row so it’s kind of your job to help everybody else out.”

Behind a solid defensive effort throughout the day, the Rangers were able to defeat FHE and wear down Catholic Central. Facing the Cougars, FHC was able to come from behind to win the 1st set of the match. Starting off the 2nd set of the CC match with a commanding 12-3 lead, the Rangers never gave up. Coach Heinz was happy with how the team played on the day in all aspects.

“This morning it was about overcoming adversity,” Heinz said. “We had people playing different positions and over communicating, we did a really good job.”

After going 3-1 on the day, the team now looks ahead to their next game against rivals Forest Hills Northern, a team they have split the season series with so far. Kendall and Coach Heinz gave their keys to a victory on Tuesday night.

“Come out super strong,” Kendall said. “Have a really positive and high energy game.”

Coach Heinz gave more insight.

“We’re gonna have to pick up our play, every time we play them,”  Heinz said. “They’re a rival of ours, so there is gonna be some excitement there. We’ve played them twice now so we know their tendencies so we’re going to really focus on that at practice on Monday and play our best game.”