Volleybally closes regular season with 15-game win streak

Sophomore Olivia Kohler sets the ball for a spike during the Lakers third set against Northwood University.

Rane Martin

Sophomore Olivia Kohler sets the ball for a spike during the Lakers third set against Northwood University.

Curtis Kalleward

Four seniors were honored in fine fashion this past weekend as Grand Valley State University’s volleyball team rolled past two GLIAC opponents. The victories, 3-0 over Northwood University Friday and 3-0 over Lake Superior State University Sunday, bring GVSU’s regular season to a close with a 15-game winning streak.

“We’ve been going on a streak, and we’re starting to peak,” said senior middle blocker Rebeccah Rapin. “We wanted to show (this weekend) how much better we are than our opponents. I think that we’re starting to get more comfortable with each other and we’re coming together at the right moment.”

The Lakers (21-5, 17-2 GLIAC) are peaking at the right moment as they begin the GLIAC Tournament Thursday in Allendale. The team’s only conference losses came against Northern Michigan University and the University of Hillsdale, two teams GVSU expects to be tough competition in the tournament play.

“Our confidence is pretty high, which is a good thing right now,” said senior outside hitter Krysta Kornack. “I’m sure we’re going to need it for if we face Hillsdale going into the GLIAC tournament.”

GVSU overpowered Northwood Friday from the first serve. The Lakers opened the first set on a 20-4 run before clinching it 25-10. They followed up the performance with an equally strong second set, winning 25-14.

When the two teams last faced off in September, the Lakers had to battle back from a 2-1 deficit to defeat the Timberwolves, a come-from-behind finish remembered Friday.

“We did talk before the match about the last time that we played them,” said GVSU head coach Deanne Scanlon. “We knew we couldn’t take Northwood for granted. We focused this whole last week on the feeling that we’re getting better. It’s not about whom our opponents are, it’s about always improving.”

GVSU began to show signs of letting up in the third set against Northwood, staying even throughout most of the third set before taking it, 25-20.

“That was one of our best performances of the year,” Scanlon said. “I give the girls credit because it’s hard to stay focused once you start to get on a roll. We lost the focus a little bit in the third set, but they did a great job of executing to close out the set.”

Sunday against Lake Superior State University, GVSU enjoyed Senior Weekend against the Upper Peninsula Lakers. Rapin led the team with 15 kills, closely followed by freshman outside hitter Stacey Catalano with 11 kils and nine digs.

“The match against Lake Superior was all about celebrating our seniors,” Scanlon said. “The best way to honor our seniors was to come out focused, play hard and be energetic.”

Scanlon said the crowd of 531 on-hand Friday night helped improve the team’s efforts, fueling support and confidence in the student-athletes. She said she looks forward to seeing continued support at the opening GLIAC Tournament match Thursday.

“We’d love to have another crowd (Thursday) like the ones we had this weekend,” she said. “It’ll be our last home match of the year, and I think that when it gets to tournament time, it’s anybody’s game. It doesn’t matter the placement – anyone can knock us off. The tournament is what we’ve been working for all year long. November is all about championships.”

The Lakers will enter the GLIAC tournament seeded second behind Hillsdale.

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