Volleyball team shows heart on senior night, loses in five to NU
October 23, 2006 —
The last home game for the volleyball team's three seniors came down to the wire Friday night, but the Cardinals were unable to grind out a victory against visiting Northwood, losing in five games 30-17, 28-30, 28-30, 30-22, and 15-13.
Northwood had 77 kills on the evening compared to 59 for the Cardinals as the Timberwolves ran their record to 15-8 overall and 9-6 in the conference. The Cards fell to 13-11 on the season and 5-10 in league play.
"We don't match up very well with them in certain positions," said head coach Will Stanton. "We worked hard this week on shoring up those areas and getting a lot stronger so we might match up better."
The practice was evident in the team's play as the Cardinals took Northwood to the wire after losing to them in three straight games earlier in the season. After losing the first game, the Cardinals won two straight in close fashion to take control of the match. Northwood proved too strong, however, as they took the final two games to earn the victory.
"We responded very well and put ourselves in a good position in the end but just couldn't quite finish," Stanton said. "I think we out- worked them which put us in some good positions and gave us the ability to score some points."
Sophomore outside hitter Sarah Redoute paced the Cardinals with 16 kills on the evening while junior outside hitter Danielle Dryer had 13. Junior setter Amy Howard had 46 assists.
The game marked the final time the team's three seniors would play before a home crowd, and the seniors responded with strong performances.
Sara Layher had five kills while libero Ashleigh Hubbard led the team defensively with 17 digs. Outside hitter Suzanne Beaver had 13 kills. Both Hubbard and Beaver led the team this season in their respected specialties, as Beaver has recorded 270 kills on the season with Hubbard getting 424 digs.
"Right now they're a huge part of it," said Stanton of the seniors' contribution to the team's success. "They contribute quite a bit on the floor, but they're also a huge part of the chemistry and personality of the team."
After the game, the seniors found it hard to sum up their careers at SVSU, though they did say senior night was surreal.
"Up until tonight we were kind of ready for this to be done," Beaver said. "But after the game it kind of hits you that it's almost done, and we only have one more week."
Layher agreed with Beaver, mentioning that it is hard to imagine not playing the game she loves.
"You feel sadness because it's your life," Layher said. "I've been playing since I was in eighth grade. It's finally coming to an end, and it's going to be the last time we all play together."
And while Beaver said the highlight moment of her career was beating Ferris State earlier in the year, Hubbard said all of the moments have been memorable ones for her.
"You have so many highlight moments," she said. "Every moment is a highlight moment. You remember everything, both the good and the bad."
Meanwhile, Layher said her highlight moment occurred during Friday night's match when she heard the home crowd go wild one final time.
"The thing I'll always remember is when we scored a point tonight and everyone went absolutely crazy," Layher said. "I looked over at Suzanne and we were like, 'This is it. This is the coolest thing ever.'”