GVSU sweep Wayne State, Findlay in dominant fashion

Zach Sepanik

Sweeping matches has become a common occurrence for the Grand Valley State University women’s volleyball team. On Friday Oct. 19, they defeated Wayne State University and on Saturday, Oct. 20 they took down the University of Findlay, on the road.

Their seventh sweep in nine matches, and fourth in a row, pushed GVSU’s winning streak to nine. The dominant play they have exerted also has pushed the Lakers to winning 15-straight sets over their last five matches.

“A real key to what we have been able to do is be more consistent all the way around,” said GVSU head coach Deanne Scanlon. “Also, everybody individually has been more consistent with their play to where we just don’t have to rely on one person. We have several people that we can go to.”

In a match-up of two of the better teams in the GLIAC on Friday, the Lakers outlasted the Warriors 25-21, 26-24, 25-14. Coming into the contest, Wayne State was 7-2 in league play, while GVSU was 6-3.

As a team, the Lakers hit .325, topping things off with a .364 hitting percentage in the final set.

Senior middle blocker Eno Umoh and freshman outside hitter Betsy Ronda each recorded five block assists as GVSU out-blocked the Warriors, who entered play leading all of Division II with three blocks per set. With Umoh’s final rejection, she passed former Laker standout Danielle Alexander for fourth on the GVSU career list with 446 total blocks.

Ronda, along with sophomore outside hitter Abby Aiken, led the team with 10 kills each.

To go along with the solid numbers in the block assist and kill categories, Ronda added eight digs and the team’s lone service ace. Umoh also notched eight kills in 10 attempts, while sophomore Clair Ruhenkamp handed out 32 assists.

“We knew we had to go out and do work and we did,” Umoh said. “Especially this late in the season, it is just about pushing through and fighting. If we want to win in the postseason, we don’t have a chance to have down-time. We have to go out and kill it every single game.”

On Saturday, the Lakers (18-4 overall, 8-3 GLIAC) continued their strong play as they flat-out crushed Findlay with wins of 25-18, 25-19 and 25-13.

The defense really took over against the Oilers as the Lakers recorded nine team blocks and held Findlay to a .011 hitting percentage. Umoh collected six of the blocks and Ruhenkamp tallied a career-high five block assists.

On the offensive side of the ball, five Lakers put away at least six kills. Umoh contributed 10, junior right side hitter Megan Schroeder chipped in nine and Ronda supplied eight, to lead the way.

“It is really great that we are pulling it together and working as team in these wins,” Ronda said. “It represents how we are improving still and to win two on the road is really important, much needed and very exciting for us.”

Junior middle blocker Abby Ebels collected six kills, hitting at a .333 percentage, while Aiken added six kills and also picked up a team-high nine digs.

After five matches on the road, GVSU heads back to Allendale to take on Northern Michigan University in the “Spike Out Cancer” match on Oct. 26. They also host Michigan Technological University on Oct. 27.

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