GVSU volleyball bounces back following tough losses

GVL / Eric Coulter

GVSU's Abby Ebels spikes the ball during this weekend's game

Eric Coulter

GVL / Eric Coulter GVSU's Abby Ebels spikes the ball during this weekend's game

Bryce Derouin

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After a disappointing start to GLIAC play — coupled by slow starts in both matches over the weekend — the Grand Valley State University women’s volleyball team rebounded, capturing two conference wins and repositioning themselves near the top of the standings.

GVSU (9-3, 2-2 GLIAC) had a rocky start to open conference play, dropping decisions to Hillsdale College and Northwood University, but a trip back to Allendale was all the Lakers needed to end their two game losing skid. The Lakers handed Malone University (6-3, 2-1 GLIAC) their first loss in the conference by winning the match 3-1, 19-25, 25-12, 25-12, 25-23. The first set loss was the first time this year that GVSU dropped a set at home.

After dominating the next two sets, GVSU leaned on sophomore Abby Aiken, who recorded nine of her 17 kills in the fourth and final set. With the Lakers trailing 21-19 in the fourth set, Aiken scored the team’s last six points on kills; all assisted by sophomore Clair Ruhenkamp. “My teammates were telling me where to hit it, and my coaching staff too,” Aiken said. “Our passing was really good and Clair was doing good as usual.”

GVSU was forced to come from behind the next day against Walsh University (3-6, 1-3 GLIAC) after dropping the first set 25-23, but managed to win the next three sets 25-22, 28-26, 28-26, including erasing a 24-18 deficit in the third set.

“When you lose set one, it gives the other team confidence,” said head coach Deanne Scanlon. “I thought we served pretty consistently and we started getting the balls to our middles more. We weren’t setting our middles enough, we were setting our outsides. The GLIAC is a great conference and it’s going to be a battle every night. I think we have the capability to rout teams when we’re playing well. I thought we grinded it out today. I think it’s good to win in a lot of different ways.”

Three Lakers managed to record a double-double against Walsh. Aiken followed up her performance on Friday against Malone with another solid outing, recording 18 kills and 14 digs. Freshman Betsy Ronda added 17 kills and 12 digs, giving her seven double-doubles on the season and setter Ruhenkamp tallied 59 assists and 18 digs.

After a disappointing weekend, the Lakers focused on the fundamentals in practice during the week in preparation for their home conference openers.

“I think we focused a lot more on basics and focused and narrowed down what we needed to work on,” Ronda said. “A lot of serving, a lot of passing and a lot of digging, that will help keep the rallies going and I think that’s what helped us today.”

The Lakers will look to continue their winning ways at home against rival Ferris State University on Tuesday.

“We got a big match against Ferris.” Scanlon said. “You basically throw all the records out the door there. It’s a rival match and we really only have one day to prepare for it. We’re 2-2, .500 in the conference. Every match we have to approach like it’s a battle and it’s a must win.”

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