The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

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 takes two wins over the U.P. for homecoming weekend

GVL / Alena Visnovsky

Following a loss to the Ferris State University Bulldogs in a fifth set, the Grand Valley State University Lakers were able to reestablish themselves with two wins against universities from Michigan’s upper peninsula.

The Lakers faced the Northern Michigan University Wildcats (8-16) on Friday, Oct. 27 and the Michigan Technological University Huskies (11-13) on Saturday, Oct. 28, with GVSU coming out with a win in both matches on a 3-0 sweep and 3-1 victory.

In the first game of the weekend, the Lakers and the Wildcats honored people who are battling or have battled cancer for GVSU’s “Cancer Awareness Night.” During player announcements in the pregame, both NMU and GVSU held up a card in honor of someone that they were playing for who had dealt with, passed on from or is dealing with the disease. 

This was followed by a celebration for junior setter Jordyn Gates for reaching her 1000th career assist, which Gates had done the weekend prior against FSU.

“Honestly my passers and my hitters (make her successful). They make it so easy to be in a system, to put up clean balls and my hitters always do a good job of putting things away,” Gates said.

Gates was the 2022 National Collegiate Athletic Association leader in triple-doubles. She put up another one in the win over NMU, tallying 23 assists, 11 kills and 10 digs, a key cog in the matchup. 

Winning in a sweep is usually indicative of dominance, but the Wildcats made it difficult for the Lakers. With sets of 25-22, 25-20 and 28-26, the 3-0 win did not come easy. 

“Early in the season they (NMU) had a couple of injuries that were hurting them and their record is not indicative of the type of team they have. Four of the last six matches they’ve won, so we knew coming in they were in a different place,” Lakers’ head coach Jason Johnson said.

In the last set, the Wildcats battled to keep the game alive, but the Lakers’ and fifth-year senior Sarah Wight were able to meet the moment with an ace in the final point by the middle blocker. Wight has been a focal point of the Lakers’ squad all season and played well again with eight kills and five blocks on top of the one ace.

“I’m gonna give it all I got because these are the last games I’m going to have,” Wight said. “I’m just going to have fun and put it out there.” 

Following their second win over NMU this season, GVSU had to go back to battle yet again. 

After four sets the Lakers took the win over MTU at 3-1, with scores of 25-20, 21-25, 25-19 and 25-20. Gates came out on fire again, the star of the matchup, with 24 kills, 23 assists, 10 digs and 5 blocks. The match was one of the best performances of her career. 

Johnson has expressed that Gates has been a focal point for the Lakers’ offense as a chess piece that he can move around the court. Still, for the better portion of the last few weeks, Johnson has felt that his team was struggling with their serving and decision-making. He felt like the team struggled a little bit with those issues against the Wildcats, but made improvements in the matchup with the Huskies.

“They played exceptionally well. Our serving and passing game was much better today,” Johnson said.

With just two weeks of the season and five games left, the Lakers moved to 11-2 in conference play on the year. That is good for second place in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC), just behind FSU (13-1 in conference), who just lost their first conference game of the season to the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

Before taking on the Bulldogs for their second and final regular season matchup, GVSU will play Davenport University on Oct. 31 at 7 p.m. for a Halloween game, and the two team’s final matchup of the season. The Lakers won in a 3-0 sweep back in September against DU.

After GVSU’s loss to FSU on Oct. 21, the Bulldogs’ having dropped a game leaves the door open for the Lakers and a GLIAC conference title, as both teams face head-to-head on Friday, Nov. 3 at 6 p.m. in the Fieldhouse Arena in Allendale, Michigan.

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