SMC, LMC sweep to set up Thursday showdown

Published 3:36 pm Wednesday, September 27, 2023

DOWAGIAC — The return of Buchanan freshman Josie West helped spark the Southwestern Michigan College volleyball team Tuesday night.

West, who has been out of the lineup the past couple of matches due to a foot injury, came back in a limited role for the Roadrunners, who snapped their two-match Michigan Community College Athletic Association Western Conference losing streak with a 3-0 sweep of visiting Kalamazoo Valley Community College.

Southwestern Michigan Coach Jenny Nate moved West back into the lineup as the team’s libero so that she could help with the Roadrunners’ serve receive. It turned out to be a good move as SMC defeated the Cougars 25-21, 25-18 and 25-14.

“We needed this win tonight,” she said. “We needed to gain back our momentum, get back to controlling runs and play SMC volleyball the way we know we can. Tonight, was all about playing to win — going hard for every ball, aggressive attacking, and defensive hustle plays. Once we started to pull away from KVCC, especially in the third set, gained our confidence and found a rhythm, we were finally able to really get a wider margin of a score. That’s the goal. We have learned we control the energy and speed of the game. That’s the way we win. Now, we prepare for LMC Thursday.”

The Roadrunners (12-5 overall, 3-2 Western Conference) head to Benton Harbor Thursday to face the league-leading Red Hawks, who swept Ancilla College 25-9, 25-12 and 25-12 to improve to 3-0 in conference matches.

Nikki Nate (Niles), Bianca Hobson (Kalamazoo/Loy Norrix) and Shayla Shears (Edwardsburg) were dominant again at the net for Southwestern Michigan. The trio of sophomores had 17, nine and six kills and a combined six blocks. Hobson also had 11 points and five digs, while Nate had eight digs and Shears four.

West finished the match with a team-high 18 digs. Emma Beckman (Niles) had 10 digs, 10 assists and nine points. Niles freshman Anna Johnson had a team-high 13 points and 19 assists.


Lake Michigan College

The Red Hawks (12-6) continue to be led offensively by Niles freshman Jillian Bruckner, who had 14 kills, four digs and three blocks against the Chargers.

Sammi Jurgensen added six kills, while Faith Lewis finished with five kills and a block. Olivia Deeb had 30 assists, eight aces and four digs. Dowagiac’s Riley Stack also had an ace.