GV struggles to 1-2 record over weekend

GVL / Eric Coulter
Senior Courtney McCotter spikes the ball against Hillsdale

GVL Archives

GVL / Eric Coulter Senior Courtney McCotter spikes the ball against Hillsdale

Zach Sepanik

Three games in three days this weekend for the Grand Valley State University volleyball team were capped off Sunday by a loss to No. 10 Hillsdale University in a three-set match, 25-20, 25-23 and 25-21.

The Lakers (7-5, 4-4 GLIAC) were led by sophomore outside hitter Stacey Catalano, who tallied 30 attacks, nine kills and three assists, and freshman outside hitter Abby Aiken, who had a solid game with 23 attacks and nine kills.

Going up against a veteran Hillsdale squad, the young Lakers battled and had a very impressive offensive contest. However, their mistakes proved costly in the end, especially a .167 hit percentage in the third set.

“I think we played a high level of volleyball today, but we didn’t sustain it for a long enough period of time,” said GVSU head coach Deanne Scanlon. “Hillsdale does not make a lot of mistakes. They sat back and waited for us to do that. We played competitively today.”

A big Catalano ace cut the deficit to 14-12 in the second game, putting some life into the Lakers. Yet, the Chargers held their ground and squeaked out the set with a couple late points.

To start off the third set, GVSU went on an 8-2 run thanks in part to sophomore Megan Schroeder’s two big blocks. A bad rotation by the Chargers gave the Lakers an ace in the scorebook to cap the run before Hillsdale made a comeback and won in straight sets.

“I feel like today we played a lot better as a team,” Catalano said. “We need to focus on the basics like working together and communicating with each other more and I feel like we will be fine.”

Meanwhile, on Friday, the No. 20 Lakers fell to Wayne State University in a five-set thriller, 25-14, 25-20, 14-25, 19-25 and 15-13. With their backs against the wall, GVSU came back to win the third and fourth sets and tie the fifth at 13-13 before Wayne State notched the final two points of the match.

The Warriors dominated play early, but GVSU became the aggressor later, pushing Wayne State to a fifth set where they jumped to an early 4-0 lead.

GVSU had a hit percentage of .117 in the match and also notched 49 kills. Wayne State was held to a .099 hit percentage and had 53 putaways. The Lakers totaled more blocks, but Wayne State gathered more assists, digs and service aces.

The Lakers also had some well-rounded individual performances as Catalano produced team-highs of 17 digs and 13 kills, while junior Olivia Kohler dished out a team-best 20 assists and picked up 13 digs.

On Saturday GVSU tallied 14 blocks and defeated the University of Findlay in a five-set contest; 21-25, 25-22, 13-25, 25-23 and 16-14; coming back from an early 2-1 set deficit.

The five-set match was the fourth this year for GVSU.

Even with the win, GVSU struggled all match long on the offensive side, hitting only .060 in the victory. Strong individual performances were evident again as Aiken had a team-high 12 kills while Catalano had 11 kills to go with 20 digs.

With such a young team, the improvements keep coming. As the weather cools and seasons turn, however, there is little time until consistency has to develop.

“This week at practice we will be a lot more focused than anything,” said junior middle back Eno Umoh. “We need to hold ourselves accountable by giving ourselves our own punishments for mistakes because right now it is almost October, and soon it will be November, and we can’t make those little mistakes anymore.”

The Lakers are now 7-5 overall with a 4-4 record in the GLIAC on the season. They face Saginaw Valley State University on Friday at home.

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