Martin spikers win invitational
The Martin varsity volleyball team claimed its first tournament championship under new coach Gavin Snyder Saturday by taking first in the Silver Bracket of the Switek Memorial Invitational in Hopkins.
The day started slowly for the Clippers when they lost 25-22 and 25-15 to Grand Rapids West Catholic and they dropped consecutive 25-12 sets to Allendale. Because they went 0-2 in phase one of pool play they were placed into "Power Pool" play with Southwest Athletic Conference opponent Fennville and Allegan from the Wolverine Conference.
Martin took two of three close sets with the Blackhawks and then went on to sweep Allegan to capture the top seed in the Silver Bracket.
The matchups were set with Martin taking on Fennville and Allegan taking on Allendale in the semifinals. The Clippers took care of Fennville in two sets in bracket play to earn a spot in the championship match. Allendale, which had edged Allegan in three sets, earn a spot as the finals opponent.
Though the Clippers had beaten beaten by the Falcons in pool play 25-12 in both sets, this time the won in straight sets to secure the Silver Bracket championship.
"Everyone who played today played well, all the girls got playing time, including Maggie Guevara and Alexa Hansen who I brought up from the jayvees," said Snyder. "Guevara was brought up for her skill setting the ball and ended up serving in one rotation almost all day. Maggie really came through today with her clutch serving, she made a couple big runs against Allendale in the championship match that put us over the top."
The coach said that along with great serving from Guevara, Taylor Curry, Alicia Rairigh, and Olivia Gorton did exceptional from the service line.
The middle block tandem of Amanda Klaasen and Emily Schipper was strong once again.
"I can't count how many times those two put down great hits, it was a real lift for our defense," Snyder said.
Emily Schipper, Taylor Curry, Olivia Gorton and Samantha MacVean led the offense all day with hitting and timely kills.
"All of the outside hitters played well," the coach said. "Along with hitting the ball hard, they understood that they had the opportunity to tip and throw a change of pace at the opposing blockers."
He said Alicia Rairigh did a great job tipping teams to death.
Mekala Smith came up big, stepping in to the setter position for the absent Andrea Brown.
"Mak did an amazing job running the offense and distributing the ball well," Snyder said. "She also took over the leadership role that Andrea usually holds."
The tournament championship comes on the heels of a third-place finish last week at Kellogsville.
PHOTO: Martin's varsity volleyball team whoops it up and proudly displays the championship trophy earned at the Switek Memorial Invitational in Hopkins. (Photo courtesy Jackie Klassen)