Roadrunners fall to Kalamazoo Valley in three sets

Published 3:46 pm Wednesday, October 19, 2022

DOWAGIAC — Getting healthy and staying positive are two things Southwestern Michigan College’s volleyball team will be focused on as the inaugural season is headed toward the finish line.

The Roadrunners have gotten healthier over the past few weeks and hopes to return starter Faith Rankin (Battle Creek/Lakeview) to the lineup either Thursday night for their home match with Glen Oaks Community College or next week.

Southwestern Michigan dropped to below .500 for the first time in Michigan Community College Western Conference play Tuesday night as visiting Kalamazoo Valley Community College swept the Roadrunners at the 1st Source Bank Fieldhouse.

The Cougars, who currently occupy second-place in the Western Conference defeated Southwestern Michigan 25-17, 25-19 and 25-16.

“Despite the loss tonight, we are focusing on some of the positives,” said SMC Coach Jenny Nate. “KVCC has a tough, experienced team with a fast offense and a strong defense. We knew we would have to work hard to break through their block and put the ball down. Despite not being able to pull out a set win, we did a good job keeping our composure and battling for one point at a time.”

Nate added that her team continues to be played by self-inflicted mistakes.

“We had some unforced errors throughout the night,” she said. “W have to be disciplined to clean those up, and that will help us close the margin of these set scores. Nights like tonight really give us a chance to evaluate our speed both offensively and defensively, and take a look at areas of weakness that we can work hard on at practice this week. We communicated well and worked well together as a team; we just have to find a way to control more point runs and to get out each rotation quickly on serve receive.”

Nate said there is no time for self-doubt or pity as the team continues to work toward earning a spot in the National Junior College Athletic Association Region XII Regional

“We have to keep our heads up, keep building this team and program, and hit the court hard tomorrow in preparation to face Glen Oaks on Thursday,” she said.

The Roadrunners are now 11-16 overall and 4-5 in the conference. Kalamazoo Valley improved to 10-12 overall and 7-2 in the Western Conference.