ALLENDALE – The Fruitport volleyball team’s tough loss to Spring Lake on Wednesday was a lot like its entire season.
The Trojans played well at times and took their share of leads, but could not get the points when they mattered most.
The Trojans lost by set scores of 25-23, 25-19 and 25-16 in the Division 2 district semifinals at Allendale High School. They finished the season with a 13-26 record.
Early in Set 1, the Trojans jumped out to a 4-0 lead and a 21-17 advantage, just four points away from getting a victory.
Despite the late lead, Spring Lake rallied with an 8-2 run to ultimately win the set 25-23.
“It’s a small recap of the season,” said Fruitport head coach Nicole Bayle about her team’s struggle with holding leads, which proved costly on Tuesday. “We’ve got to figure out how to finish games. We have to learn how to not mess up six-point leads. We’re capable of it and just have to figure it out. We have to be confident and finish strong.”
In Set 2, Fruitport started strong once again, taking a 3-0 lead before Spring Lake battled back to tie the score at 8-8.
In the middle of the set, numerous 50-50 balls fell just over the net on the Trojan’s side, giving Spring Lake valuable points en route to the 25-19 win.
“We had our opportunities,” Bayle said. “We have to learn how to take the flow and learn to grow.”
In the third and final set, Fruitport grabbed a 7-4 lead before Spring Lake won the next seven points and never looked back, cruising to the 25-16 victory and sealing up the match.
Junior Sadie Haase led the Trojans with 10 kills and 11 digs on the night while Gracelynn Olson finished with 20 assists and 14 digs.
The loss marked the end of varsity volleyball for three Fruitport seniors – Emma Hueller, Lauren Riedel and Ashton Olson.
“It’s hard to see them go,” Bayle said. “They’re awesome kids and hard workers. They’re kind and great teammates. They’re the kind of kids in the gym that make it a better place to be.
“It’ll be huge to lose them. We’ll miss them a ton.”
While the Trojans will miss the seniors, Bayle will have most of her young team back next season, ready to build on the tough lessons they learned this fall.
“You have to learn what it feels like in a pressure situation,” the coach said. “We have a lot of kids who hadn’t been in those moments and played with that pressure. They haven’t had the demand to win or you’re done, so this will be huge for them.