Balanced Chix prime Dux in 5, goal for convention title – Sports activities – Holland Sentinel
ZEELAND — The Zeeland East volleyball crew was filled with uncooked expertise, younger gamers getting their likelihood to develop.
Final yr’s Chix had their ups and downs, however gained priceless expertise and noticed big potential.
This season, the Chix have already proven extra of that potential.
“I believe we lastly obtained over the hump of reaching that potential that we knew was there,” Zeeland East center hitter Katie Klein mentioned. “It was irritating final yr understanding we had these flashes, however it wasn’t all the time translating. We’re excited for what’s to return this yr.”
The potential has proven for your entire season, highlighted by a win in opposition to Hamilton, a two-time defending state quarterfinalist.
“Beating Hamilton, we began exhibiting that battle and that grit and it confirmed us we are able to compete at that top stage,” Zeeland East setter Grace Steenwyk mentioned. “We lastly began to complete. We did these little issues defensively. We have been there on the block and there on the move — and we lastly got here collectively as a crew and fought by it collectively.”
Now, the Chix (8-2, 3-1 OK Inexperienced) know they will compete with elite groups and can use that as they goal for an OK Inexperienced Convention title.
“It took a while to sink in. Most of us have been in shock that we have been capable of carry out like that in opposition to high-level groups,” Natalie Jarzembowski mentioned. “By profitable, it confirmed we’ve a chance to be nice this yr.”
That continued on Tuesday night time with a five-set, comeback win over rival Zeeland West.
The Chix received 15-25, 17-25, 25-19, 25-13, 15-12 behind 40 assists, 11 digs and 5 aces from Steenwyk.
Elly Hart had 14 kills, whereas Katie Carlson had 12, Katie Klein had eight, Braelynn Huizenga had 5 and Mai Beckman had 5. Reilly Zegunis posted 5 blocks, whereas Sydni Leonoard had 22 digs, Carlson had 15 and Ashlyn Mendelsohn had 11.
“It simply reveals that our laborious work at follow, and through the summer time — we ran rather a lot,” Jarzembowski mentioned. “It reveals our laborious work and our athleticism and it turns into expertise on the court docket.”
That work began through the COVID-19 pandemic because the Chix took to out of doors sand courts to coach.
“We put a whole lot of work in, beginning out on the sand courts,” Steenwyk mentioned. “Within the second, being on the sand courts type of stunk, however in the long run, it obtained us prepared. It’s tougher to do issues in sand. It actually made us work on these little issues. As soon as we got here again, it was a neater transition. It was a lift in our confidence to see our enchancment. It wasn’t game-like conditions, however it completely made us higher.”
The enhancements have been seen throughout the board, which in flip, gave the entire Chix a confidence increase.
“We have now all improved. I do know if I don’t have sport, that different ladies will,” Klein mentioned. “We have now a whole lot of expertise, particularly with hitters, coming again, so that offers us all confidence.”
It additionally energizes the crew, led by Jarzembowski.
“Natalie is the toughest employee on the court docket — all the time. I do know if Natalie is behind me and the ball is coming, she goes to get that ball. She is going to dive and provides 100% each time. We all the time know she will carry that additional bolt of power,” Steenwyk mentioned.
That may be the distinction, particularly throughout a troublesome match.
“I see myself as an power supplier. My mindset if the power is there, the expertise will probably be there,” Jarzembowski mentioned. “Individuals feed off of power. Gifted folks can slack off, however in the event you carry the power first, will probably be there.”
— Observe Sports activities Editor Dan D’Addona on Twitter @DanDAddona and Fb @Holland Sentinel Sports activities.