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Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

GV volleyball splits two road games, losing 15th straight match with Ferris

GVL / Alena Visnovsky

The Grand Valley State University Lakers volleyball team was pushed to the brink against rival, No. 17 ranked Ferris State University Bulldogs, losing the highly-contested match 3-2 in the fifth set on Saturday, Oct. 21 after a 3-0 sweep of Lake Superior State University on Friday, Oct. 20.

Coming out of a dominating sweep at home of a 6-16 LSSU team, GVSU lost to FSU for the fifteenth consecutive game, having not beaten them since Nov. 21, 2014.

Lakers head coach Jason Johnson felt that the team has plenty to work on after their hot start to the season.

“I think the last couple of weeks haven’t been as crisp and sharp as we wanted it to be, even in training,” Johnson said. “We’ve felt like our ball control wasn’t where it needs to be over the last couple of weeks. I felt our serving has been off a little bit over the last couple of weeks,” Johnson said. 

Following the LSSU game Johnson thought he had seen some growth or signs of improvement. 

“Going into that match (against LSSU) I think those were two of our focal points. I thought we did a good job of that. I felt for the first two sets specifically we were in control of what we wanted to do,” Johnson said.

GVSU swept the match in sets of 25-18, 25-15 and 25-20. Fifth-year senior middle blocker and right-side hitter Sarah Wight has played a huge role in the team’s success this season. She had another strong performance with 12 kills, seven blocks and three aces, leading the team in all of those categories. 

Johnson is appreciative of what Wight brings to the table for a roster that gives several young players a lot of minutes.

“We’ve been through a lot, but we still start three sophomores and a freshman, so there’s still some inexperience. You lean on your seniors to provide some stability and to provide that calmness under pressure. I think Sarah’s just done an exceptional job of that over the last few weeks. I think she’s starting to come into her own. She has been a very dominant player those last few weeks. It’s really good to see,” Johnson said.

Johnson felt the team had worked through some of the issues during the LSSU game. However, the same problems the team faced earlier in the season arose against FSU.  The Bulldogs beat the Lakers in another tightly contest five set match following last season’s end of year meeting. GVSU has failed to come out on top in nearly nine straight years.

“The maturity piece needs to set in of how to be able to handle those moments. How to handle not only the losses but handle the success,” Johnson said. “We were up two sets to one and came out flat in set four. I still attribute that to just an immature response to a match where we have to be locked in a little bit better than what we were.” 

GVSU dropped the first set 25-19 before taking the next two by scores of 25-20 and 26-24. The third set was a microcosm of how intense and competitive the game was as both teams rallied back and forth to that 26-24 decision. It was followed by GVSU losing 25-18 and 15-9 in the final sets, dropping the match 3-2.

“I thought our ball control was not very good this evening, but credit to Ferris for their serving and the pressure it put us under. I thought they executed very well in that area and it put our offense in a tough situation,” Johnson said.

In less than two weeks the Lakers will get another shot at FSU, and after leading early in the game on the Bulldogs’ home court, GVSU feels good about their chances of coming home to Allendale, Michigan for their next matchup.

“We know we can beat them, we know we have the talent,” said Lakers’ sophomore setter Meghan O’Sullivan.

The stretch run of the season is upon GVSU with just seven games left in their schedule for the remaining three weeks. As the year comes to a close, the veterans on the team continue to be relied on by the Lakers’ head coach. 

“It’s kind of an end of a career for a couple of them. It’s five years, and everything that’s gone into those five years is kinda boiling down to the last few weeks of the season,” Johnson said.

GVSU will welcome Michigan’s upper peninsula to their home court for their next two games as they play Northern Michigan University Wildcats on Friday, Oct. 27 before their match against Michigan Technological University on Saturday, Oct. 28.

O’Sullivan is looking forward to seeing NMU again after their team made a couple of changes to their starting lineup, presenting a new challenge for GVSU after Lakers beat the Wildcats 3-1 in Marquette, Michigan.

“I’m just kind of excited to play them again. I know we beat them last time but they’re always a tough team that always comes up with some stuff to pull out so that’ll be exciting.” O’Sullivan said.

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About the Contributor
Nelson Hubbell
Nelson Hubbell, Sports Editor
Nelson Hubbell is the Sports Editor for the Lanthorn for the 2023-2024 school year. A senior at Grand Valley State University, before his time with the Lanthorn, he was a staff writer for The Collegiate Live, Grand Rapids Community College's student publication where he was a student for two years. He worked for a restaurant for four and a half years in Holland, Mich. called Hops at 84 East, a place he holds close to his heart. During his time there he was a manager for roughly two years. He loves camping, hiking and being outside in general. He is super passionate about football, basketball, baseball and hockey and loves all things sports and competition. Nelson will be pursuing a career in sportscasting as a play-by-play broadcaster and or as an analyst after his time at GVSU. Graduating Winter 2024 Major: Multimedia Journalism