CoverHawkSports

Year in Review: Volleyball

By: Volleyball Beat Reporters

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Record: 33-8-5

OK Green Finish: Second (8-2)

Best Win: Holland Christian- Game 1: In the first game of OK Green Conference play the Hawkeyes swept the Maroons in 3 sets. This was the start of what turned out to be a very strong year for Hamilton. For the past couple years HC had been a powerhouse in conference and in this game, the Hawkeyes were able to show that they were for real. When asked what win was the best to her, Coach Abby Ekkens responded with the victory over their rival. “We came out ready to play. Typically we come out a little slow but that game we were ready. We started strong, we finished strong and played well the whole way through.” Added to the great play is the fact that this was Hamilton’s first win against the Maroons in 4 years. Throughout the rest of the year the Hawkeyes were able to use the momentum of this game to eventually set up a showdown at the end of the year with conference leading Byron Center.

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Worst Loss: Byron Center- Game 2: The second game against the Bulldogs has to be the worst loss. With this defeat they lost their dream of tying for the conference championship. They got swept by the Bulldogs, with scores in every game being close. This was a sour end to a great season by the Hawkeyes. With Coach Ekkens saying “The second game against Byron Center was the most bitter loss we had suffered”. The Hamilton Hawkeyes had a great run this season. What they can pull from this season is that great perseverance and having great team chemistry is the key to a great season. They may have lost this game but they but they have gained much more. life long friendships and bonds with each other and thats something that not many have the chance to do.

 

MVP: Jordan Pikaart has been a huge contributor to the Hamilton varsity volleyball team for four years in a row. She continues to improve and lead the team to victory. You can always count on her having a great game and racking up the points. Jordan, a 5’ 10’’ outside hitter, is the type of player the other team has to watch out for. But, the main reason Jordan is the MVP of the season is because she is a complete player, and is consistent throughout the season. Although she is a quiet player, people respect her because of her actions.

 

This season, Jordan posted 672 kills, averaging 14.6 kills per game, highest on the team. But, not only does she contribute to the team with her spikes, she is also one of the best servers on the team. Her serving percentage this season was 85% completion, with a total of 83 aces! Also, you wouldn’t expect an outside hitter to get many digs, but Jordan had a total of 187 digs. She averaged 4.06 digs per game. These stats show how well rounded and complete player that Jordan is. She performed very well this season, and the Hamilton varsity volleyball team is going to miss having her on the team. “Jordan has been a 4-year starter on the varsity volleyball team.  She is our most dominant offensive player and our go-to person if we need a point or side-out.  Jordan had an excellent senior year in both offensive and defensive statistical categories,” says coach Abby Ekkens when asked how Jordan contributes to the team.

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Effects of Graduation: The Varsity Volleyball team will have a major gap for next years season due to the fact that they will be losing eight seniors when graduation comes around. Many of the juniors and soon to be seniors will have to step up to fill in the hole that the seniors will leave. Not only are some of the key players leaving, but the girls will lose friends and close companions. New friendships will have to be built and girls who have never been on varsity will have to adapt to new players and a different coach. A new setter will have to be put in place to make up for when Destiny leaves and someone will have to try to fill the shoes Jordan will leave for any hitter. Pikaart has made it known that she plans to go to Saginaw Valley State University where she will continue to play volleyball. When asked about what lessons she has learned she said, “ I’ve learned that you need to work together to accomplish goals, it can’t be an individual thing, you need to rely on the people around you to pick you up and not give up.”

 

When she graduates she is ‘going to miss the relationships that she’s made with her teammates, they have become some of her best friends and it has helped them grow a lot closer to each other over their years on Varsity’ There are also Courtney VandeVorde, Kenna Dyke, Jessica Carlson, Taylor Lane, Sam Getty, and Erin Meiste that are graduating this year and their absence will be felt come next season.

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Behind the Scenes: Every girl on the varsity team has improved immensely from the start of the season. Who could be considered to be the most improved players would have to be the juniors who have never been on the varsity team before this season. They have had to build up new friendships and a respect for their coach. Also they are playing with girls who have played on varsity for two years (including this season) or even their entire high school volleyball career. They have had to prove that they belong, and with every game and practice, their determination to succeed has helped them improve to a higher level than they thought they could achieve. Also there are a lot of key players on the team who don’t have the highest stats, but contribute their all to the team and have made many ‘heroic’ plays during games. These players can be considered ‘unsung heros’. They have played in all the games, and go above and beyond contributing to the team during practices and during the games. They happen to be seniors this year, so they will not be here the next volleyball season. Coach Ekkens has named a few of them and has many things to say about them. “Taylor Lane, Sam Getty, Kenna Dyke, & Jessica Carlson have all contributed significantly to the success of their volleyball teams for the past several seasons.  What they all bring to the court is something that is almost indescribable, and often goes unnoticed. These players have a unique chemistry on the floor, unlike any that I’ve coached before. They simply just know what the other one is going to do. These players do not get the recognition that they often deserve, and the best part about them is that they do not want it.  That’s why I call them the ‘unsung heroes’. The positions they play do not earn them public kudos in the Holland Sentinel, but they are as equally valuable to the teams’ success as the players who deservedly get mentioned. I am very proud of the things they’ve accomplished, and I’m lucky to have coached them.”

 

All four girls had the same idea of what a unsung hero was. “Someone who is behind the scenes, unknown, and they always contribute their best to the team with no recognition.” Sam Getty summarized for all the girls. “There are many of these players on the team, like the littles and others.”

Many of these girls contribute a lot to the teams moral. Kenna Dyke says, “We encourage everyone to do their best and work their hardest during practices and games. Also during the game, we try to help accomplish the goals set during practices and always stay positive.”

The four called out by Coach Ekkens, are all seniors, When asked about the thought of graduation, Taylor Lane and Jessica Carlson both said that “It’s bittersweet.” They are excited to start a new chapter of their lives, but they are sad that they have to leave behind their friends, at school and on volleyball. Also they will leaving behind the place they grew up in and memories they had, to move on to make new memories in new places.

Coach Ekkens described them all as unsung heros, and it is true. They have all contributed in the ways they can, and have become very important part of the team.

 

Younger Contribution for 2015: As the volleyball season comes to an end and eight seniors leave, the juniors and sophomores need to step up. In an interview, Coach Ekkens was asked what player has contributed the most to the team this year and who will be a leader in next years season. She answered with Meri Klenk, a junior on the team. “She shows leadership to the team and is a true team player. There are some players who contribute to the floor and others who contribute to the team in general. Meri is one who contributes to the team.¨

As this is Meri’s first year on the team, she still has room for improvement and Coach Ekkens believes that she will also be a contributor to the floor in the upcoming season of 2015.

In an interview, Klenk was questioned on how she thinks the team will be affected as the seniors leave. “They were our strongest players but I think if we have the heart and we work hard enough we can still be successful in years to come. It will be a year of rebuilding but we all have the will to work hard and becoming a strong team.”

Just as Ekkens said, Meri believes that she brings a voice of encouragement to the team and does her part off of the court. Even though the Hawkeye varsity volleyball team is losing many of the players on the team who had a big impact on years past, the 2015 season should be successful if the incoming team can work as hard as possible.

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