Laker winning streak ends at eight games

Archive / Nate Kalinowski 
Sophomore Kaleigh Lound

Archive / Nate Kalinowski Sophomore Kaleigh Lound

Jay Bushen

The eight-game winning streak belonging to the No. 17 Grand Valley State University women’s
volleyball team was snapped on Tuesday night in a 3-2 loss (23-25, 22-25, 26-24, 25-16, 10-15)
against No. 22 Ferris State University inside a packed Ewigleben Sports Arena in Big Rapids, Mich.

“I think we handled it pretty well,” said GVSU associate head coach Jason Johnson. “I don’t think the
environment had anything to do with it. Ferris just played a better match.”

The volleyball-only arena appeared to reach its maximum capacity of 600 as fans crowded near
doorways and second-level windows just to catch a glimpse of the action between the pair of
nationally ranked opponents.

The Lakers were without head coach Deanne Scanlon, who did not make the trip and is taking a
temporary leave of absence from the team for personal reasons. Johnson said Scanlon will most likely
return by the end of the week.

GVSU (10-3, 4-1 GLIAC) lost to a top-25 team for the first time this season after upsetting a trio of
ranked opponents early on. The team fell to second place in the GLIAC standings while FSU (10-3, 5-0
GLIAC) took sole possession of the top spot.

The showdown between the rivals was a close one, as evidenced by 34 ties and 12 lead changes.

FSU seemed to feed off the energy from its home crowd in the first two sets after keying in on GVSU’s
outside hitters, junior Abby Aiken and sophomore Betsy Ronda. The Bulldogs were well on their way to
pulling off a quick sweep until the Lakers found a way to attack from the inside.

“Our two middles did a really nice job tonight,” Johnson said. “Ferris did a good job of taking our
outsides away from us, forcing us to do something different.”

Junior middle blocker Ally Simmons put down an emphatic spike to tie things up at 13 apiece in the
third set, which seemed to temporarily swing the momentum in favor of GVSU. The Lakers went on to
win the third and fourth sets before falling in the final set 15-10.

Simmons led the team with 14 kills and added two blocks, two service aces and a match-best hitting
percentage of .565. The Naperville, Ill. native said she can’t wait to play the Bulldogs in Allendale.

“We’re going to get them, no doubt,” she said. “This just fuels us to come back and get them in three
(sets).” The teams will meet again at the Fieldhouse Arena on Nov. 5 at 7 p.m.

Sophomore middle blocker Kaleigh Lound also made an impact from the inside, coming up with a
number of clutch blocks that helped push the match to five sets. She ended up with 10 kills, a .350
hitting percentage and a game-high six blocks.

Lound said she was proud of the way her team battled back.

“We played tough,” she said. “We fought back from a 2-0 lead in a hostile environment and a lot of
teams couldn’t have done that. We definitely showed our potential.”

Aiken and Ronda combined to tally 22 kills in the losing effort, while junior setter Kaitlyn Wolters
notched seven to go with 38 assists. Each of the three recorded 19 digs.

The team will attempt to bounce back at home this weekend in a pair of conference matches against
Ohio Dominican University on Friday at 7 p.m. and Tiffin University on Saturday at 4 p.m.

[email protected]