Volleyball team rolls SVSU, Advances to semifinals OLD

GVL / Robert Mathews
Kaitlyn Wolters (7) sets up a shot during the Lakers match against SVSU.

GVL / Robert Mathews Kaitlyn Wolters (7) sets up a shot during the Lakers match against SVSU.

Jay Bushen

The Grand Valley State University women’s volleyball team is certainly pulling its weight in the Battle of the Valleys.

GVSU was firing on all cylinders at home against Saginaw Valley State University on Wednesday night and ultimately swept its rival in straight sets (25-16, 25-15, 25-16) to advance to the GLIAC Tournament Semifinals.

“That was the best we have looked offensively,” head coach Deanne Scanlon said. “Everybody was on fire tonight. It’s been a while since we’ve played like that.”

GVSU (27-3, 18-1 GLIAC) has been on fire for more than two months.

The team found a way to push its winning streak to 17 games and has now won 25 of its last 26 matches.

The victory ensured the top-seeded Lakers home-court advantage for the remainder of the tournament at the Fieldhouse Arena, where the team has won each of its last 10 games.

“Our crowds are great,” Scanlon said. “To play in front of people like this just makes it exciting especially when it comes to tournament time. When you’re playing for championships and trophies in front of your home crowd, it makes it fun.”

GVSU led the conference in home attendance this year and appears to be the favorite to win the tournament after taking the regular season conference championship.

The team had recently swept the Cardinals at home on Nov. 8, and the end result was no different 12 days later.

“We just wanted to make a statement to start the playoffs,” sophomore outside hitter Betsy Ronda said. “We should win (the tournament)—we just want to guarantee that we will host regionals. We don’t want to travel.”

Ronda finished the match with nine kills and seven digs, while junior outside hitter Abby Aiken led the way with game-highs in both kills (10) and digs (11).

Junior setter Kaitlyn Wolters also posted 11 digs while orchestrating the Laker attack to the tune of 33 assists. The team’s only active senior, right-side hitter Megan Schroeder, tallied nine kills in the victory.

Schroeder said her team still has some work to do.

“We’re just trying to work on playing at one pace through the whole match,” she said. “We’ve been showing that we can either be weak at the start or at the end of games. We notice it and we get frustrated at times, but it’s something that we’ll work through and fix.”

GVSU did appear to be erratic for a brief period of time in the final set but still managed to overpower a Cardinal attack that struggled all night long.

SVSU only managed to muster up a hitting-percentage clip of .046 as a team while the Lakers hit .330.

The Battle of the Valleys has been a one-sided affair so far this fall, as GVSU currently holds a perfect 5-0 record against its rival across four varsity sports.

The football team will also have a chance to garner a postseason win against the Cardinals on Saturday at Lubbers Stadium at 1 p.m.

The Lakers will continue their pursuit of a GLIAC Tournament Championship in front of their home fans on Saturday against the reigning champs of Northwood University at 5 p.m. in the semifinals. The championship match will take place on Sunday.
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