Lakers prepare to take on GLVC foes

GVL Archive
Junior setter Olivia Kohler gets ready to return the volley in a past match.

GVL Archives

GVL Archive Junior setter Olivia Kohler gets ready to return the volley in a past match.

Zach Sepanik

This weekend’s two-day GLIAC/GLVC Crossover tournament will mark the fourth year the two conferences have clashed in the mid-season spectacle.

The tournament pits teams from the GLIAC and the Great Lakes Valley Conference against one another. The Grand Valley State University volleyball team will take on Missouri University of Science and Technology and Bellarmine University on Friday before hitting the court again on Saturday against Lewis University.

“I’m excited to see some new teams,” said sophomore outside hitter Megan Schroeder. “There is tradition between the conferences and who wins. It will be nice to see some fresh teams that some of us haven’t played before.”

While only in its fourth year, the tournament still offers some tradition and solid incentives. The winning conference receives more bids to the regional tournament, giving teams on the edge of a postseason berth a little more to play for.

“We want our GLIAC teams to do well in this Crossover Tournament because the more GLIAC teams we have that win, the more likely chance that we’ll go to postseason and regionals,” said freshman outside hitter Abby Aiken. “We are rooting for all the GLIAC teams and it’s cool because we are against them, but we’re for them at the same time.”

The Lakers hold an overall record of 7-2 in the Crossover Tournament. They won all three games in 2008 and 2010, including wins against Bellarmine in 2008 and Missouri Science and Technology and Lewis in 2010. In 2009, however, they went 1-2.

The GLIAC owns an overall record of 73-56 against the GLVC, but the conference is looking to bounce back from a 22-23 record last season.

While the tournament does offer a break in conference play for all teams, it does occur at that time of year when the aches and pains from the long season start to come out.

For the Lakers, it will be interesting to see how they cope with injury and fatigue, as well as how they fare against Lewis, as a scrimmage earlier this year may have helped GVSU realize exactly what they need to do to win, Aiken said.

“We held our own against them,” Aiken said. “We are excited. We know that we have to push through because right now everyone is achy and getting sick and that we have to focus on getting healthy this week to compete.”

After wins against Ashland University on Friday and Lake Erie University on Sunday, the team feels confident in its chances going forward, especially against the GLVC this weekend.

“I feel like we all feel rejuvenated after this past weekend,” said junior setter Olivia Kohler. “It kind of has given us almost like a new beginning, a new motivation. I guess it all happened in a blessing in disguise way.”

With only seven games to go following the Crossover Tournament before postseason play, the recent wins by the Lakers may just be the launching pad for a strong push to the end of the season and beyond.

“I think it is definitely good that we won the two games this past weekend,” Schroeder said. “It gives us momentum and energy to keep it going. We learned from our mistakes in the losses we had and we have become a better team from it. I think we are past that now and we know what we need to do to win.”

[email protected]