Cards take initiative

Big Rapids overcomes early struggles to defeat Holton in four

BIG RAPIDS — Losing the second game to Holton did not sit well with the Big Rapids volleyball team.

The match stood at one set apiece, but the Cardinals knew they had to be better. Though it took a little bit of time in the third game, Big Rapids did get better as it was able to post a 25-22, 18-25, 25-20, 25-18 victory over the Red Devils at Big Rapids High School on Wednesday.

UP AT THE NET: Big Rapids’ Emily Fisk (left) and Braeden Gosma (right) go up for the block against Holton during Wednesday’s volleyball action. (Pioneer photo/Bob Allan)

“I thought we started slow at first, but we started to pick up (in the third and fourth games),” Big Rapids’ Braeden Gosma said.

After playing Central State Activities Association co-leaders Chippewa Hills to five games and Morley Stanwood to four, Big Rapids believed they weren’t playing to its full potential, Gosma said.

“I think we stooped to their level, we can play better than how we played (Wednesday),” she said.

Big Rapids coach Chris Jensen agreed.

He thought the biggest issue facing the Cardinals was letting balls drop in front of his team with little effort.

Jensen challenged the team to get everything in front of them.

“We had a conversation that we weren’t going to let anything beat us in front of us and that carried us in the third and fourth games,” he said.

The third game didn’t come easy, however.

Holton led 17-11 before the Cardinals came to life.

Behind the play of Kendra Enszer and Francesca Ravaldini, Big Rapids began to control the net. Enszer tallied 12 kills and six blocks and Ravaldini netted 11 kills.

Kasey Woodworth finished with 18 assists and 10 digs.

But it was the defensive effort that impressed Jensen the most. Enszer tallied six blocks, while Cara Jensen added 10 digs and Gosma eight digs. Jensen and Gosma also recorded six kills.

“Kendra, Kasey (Woodworth) and Braeden (Gosma) kept a lot of balls off the floor,” Chris Jensen said.

The Cardinals battled back to even the game and eventually took the game three victory behind the serving of Emily Schlaupitz, who had three aces in a six-point stretch.

That hot play continued into the fourth game in which Big Rapids never let the Red Devils get comfortable as the Cardinals rolled to the win.

Chris Jensen agreed he thought his team dropped a level, but thought his team did a good job of recovering to gain the victory despite not playing to its potential.

“Sometimes you have to find the motivation inside you and I think you saw that,” Jensen said.

Big Rapids is in action Saturday at the Sparta Invitational.

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