Oak Ridge defeats Grizzlies in first round

By: Matt Long
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Tom Van Der Wende couldn’t have been more pleased with his team’s performance on Thursday. The Oak Ridge volleyball team played with the kind of energy and superior skill that Van Der Wende had only seen in spurts throughout the regular season and it led to a 25-23, 21-25, 25-19 and 25-23 victory over Granite Bay in the first round of the playoffs. The win advanced Oak Ridge to Tuesday’s semifinals against Delta River League foe Jesuit, a team the Trojans lost to twice during the regular season. “If we play like we did against Granite Bay, it will be a very exciting match,” Van Der Wende said. “I’m very proud of the guys. They stepped up against Granite Bay and played the way they’re capable of playing.” If Jonathan Tuttle played his normal match with 12 kills, eight blocks and two aces, than Tim Spykerman had his best match of the year. Spykerman led the team with 14 kills and also had eight blocks. “Tim was on fire and was really putting the ball down,” Van Der Wende said. “They had no answer for him. It was his best match of the season and he was excellent on offense and on defense. The entire team was.” Oak Ridge pulled out a close first match, 25-23, which got them off to a good start. Granite Bay won the second game, 25-21, but the Trojans weren’t rattled. “That first game was back and forth and it was pretty sweet to win it,” Van Der Wende said. “I wasn’t worried when we lost the second game because everyone was excited to be playing and even though we lost the second match, I could tell the guys were confident.”