Senior Night is one of the great traditions at Oakland Christian. It is a time to honor the senior athletes who have poured countless hours into practice, open gyms, off-season workouts, and cross training. Late night practices, running “go-go’s”, doing push-ups, and enduring the coach who is pushing them to reach levels beyond what the players think they can accomplish. And who can forget those long bus rides to Inter City, or Huron Valley Lutheran! All of that effort and dedication pays off with the privilege of wearing the OC on their jersey and competing for their school.
Senior Night also honors the athlete’s parents. Their dedication to their child, to the team, and to the school makes the entire Oakland Christian athletic department a success. Not only does the parent make untold extra trips to the school, they pay for shoes and athletic equipment, they do fundraisers, and they feed the team; pregame meals and tournament day-long buffets.
So when the time comes for the senior to play their final contest at home, in the gym that is so familiar, the emotions are bittersweet. It signals the closing of a wonderful chapter in their life. There is a limited number of days remaining to play the sport that they love, for the school that they love, in front of people who love them.
Friday night, on the volleyball court at Oakland Christian, was such a night. Seniors Grace Shelata and Logan Hoover, along with their parents, were recognized by Michael Goddard, our outstanding PA announcer. The Shelata’s, and the Hoover’s presented their daughters with bouquets of flowers in an opening ceremony that had the entire team choking back tears.
Once the seniors had been honored in the pregame ceremony, and their parents recognized for their devotion to their daughter’s athletic endeavors, it proved to be a challenge to change gears and get to playing solid volleyball. Filled with the emotion of the pregame ceremony, the Lancer team got off to a sluggish start. The visiting Roeper Roughriders had ideas of raining on the senior’s parade. The teams traded points and OCS held a modest 9-8 lead in the first when the Lady Lancers came to life! Grace Shelata and Logan Hoover went out in style. With the help of their teammates, they dismantled the Roughriders of Roeper School, winning 25-10, 25-12, and 25-10.
Grace Shelata commented, “After the introduction, I was really trying not to cry and think about how it was my last game… but we pulled through with a good night of volleyball.”
Logan Hoover added, “It was bittersweet. It was sad to have played my last home game, but it was also exciting to have such a good game to end the night.”
Statistically, Grace Shelata had a memorable night, leading the team with 7 aces and 25 points on her serve, including a pair of 10 point service runs. Freshmen Kaylee Page and Katie Hopkins paired up for 11 kills by Page, and 18 assists by Hopkins. They also combined for 9 aces and 27 points on their serves. Irene Gomez chipped in with a 7 point service run of her own.
The Lancers winning streak has reached 6 as they evened their season record at 10-10-2. They also have a commanding lead in the MIAC conference standings; undefeated at 6-0 with only two matches remaining.