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 falls to Ferris in GLIAC Tournament Championship after two huge wins

GVL / Bethann Long

Led by head coach Jason Johnson, the Grand Valley State University Lakers’ volleyball team took two impressive wins in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletics Conference (GLIAC) Tournament before falling to the Ferris State University Bulldogs in the championship game.

GVSU faced the Lake Superior State University Lakers (8-22) in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, Nov. 15 and the Michigan Technological University Huskies (15-16) in the semifinals on Saturday, Nov. 18, coming out with a win in both matches on a 3-0 sweep and 3-1 victory. 

Starting the first match off strong, GVSU took a 10-2 lead forcing an early timeout by LSSU head coach Zach Rambo. After battling back including a 5-point run by LSSU, GVSU won the first set 25-20. 

Heading into the second set GVSU took control early and won 25-19, taking the match with a nail-biting 25-23 third set win. 

LSSU, a struggling team this season, put up a tough fight against GVSU in the final set but to no avail. 

“First round (of the tournament), it’s about winning and surviving and moving on,” Johnson said. “A lot of the matches aren’t going to be pretty. It’s just about how do you find a way to win every match.”

Fifth-year senior setter Rachel Jacquay came out on top with 24 assists to get GVSU their victory.

“They’ve (her teammates) have been putting in so much effort. They come in before practice and after practice, even during practices we’re locked in putting the work in, and they are always giving 100 percent,” Jacquay said.

The win over LSSU earned GVSU a spot in the GLIAC semifinals against the Huskies, where GVSU dominated in the first two sets against MTU 25-13 and 25-10. The two teams split their regular season meetings, so the Huskies would not go down easily.

Going into the third set, MTU made it hard for GVSU to take the win, rallying back and forth in a battle. Both teams were going point for point, with GVSU fighting for the win and MTU battling to stay alive. For the first time in the match, the Huskies were able to take a lead (13-11), narrowly coming out on top of the third set 25-23. 

After one close set, GVSU took the fourth one 25-16, asserting their dominance on both offense and defense as they had all match. The win earned GVSU a spot in the GLIAC finals against a formidable Ferris State team.

In this match, junior setter Jordyn Gates dominated MTU with 12 kills, 18 assists, nine digs and 6 blocks. Gates was named to the All-GLIAC first team for her second straight season and was crowned the 2023 GLIAC Player of the Year.

“My team is the only reason I got it,” Gates said. 

In a tough matchup with the Bulldogs for a chance to win the GLIAC Tournament Championship after winning the regular season title, GVSU needed everything they could get out of Gates. However, her triple-double was just not quite enough. 

After coming out firing with the help of five kills from Meghan O’Sullivan, GVSU took the first set 25-18 before dropping the next three by three points or less each time: 25-22, 27-25, 25-22.

Gates was tied for the team lead in kills with Sarah Wight and Kendall Stover (14) and was second in overall points to Wight’s 16  with 15 of her own.

Wight and Gates were both named to the 2023 GLIAC All-Conference team.

The Lakers were visibly emotional after dropping the tough matchup as GVSU now awaits the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division II Selection Show announcement to see who they will be facing on the weekend following Thanksgiving on Nov. 23.

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