GVSU volleyball extends winning streak to five game after defeating Ashland University

Hannah Murdock setting for the attackers

Hannah Murdock setting for the attackers

Kellen Voss

Grand Valley State wrapped up its weekend in the best way possible, dominating Ashland University on the road 3-0 Saturday, Oct. 28, to push the team’s winning streak to five games.

After GVSU rallied in a massive comeback against Tiffin University in the previous game, the team carried that momentum into the game against Ashland.

“We were carried off of the confidence from what we did last night,” said head coach Deanne Scanlon. “We felt good about ourselves but not in an overconfident way. We just played relaxed, and it might have been our best match of the year.”

The Lakers beat the Eagles in nearly every major category, including kills (42-27), assists (40-25) and digs (52-40). They also tripled Ashland’s aces in the game (6-2) and more than doubled their amount of blocks (7-3).

Scanlon was impressed with the team’s play in Saturday’s match. With the playoffs and GLIAC play right around the corner, she thinks the team is finally hitting its stride.

“I feel like we really took a positive step in the right direction of the kind of play we’re looking for this time of year,” Scanlon said. “We have really turned a corner in the latter part of this season, and I think I saw that happen this weekend.”

GVSU’s execution was better than Ashland’s throughout the entire game. They won every set by at least 6 points, including the last set by 12 points (25-14, 25-19, 25-13). GVSU also converted on 32.7 percent of their team attacks in the match, dominating the offensive side especially down the stretch, capitalizing on 42.4 percent of their team attack attempts in the final set of the game.

The Lakers executed efficiently on the defensive side, and their coach took notice. 

“We played great defense, frustrated their hitters and kept our errors to a minimum,” Scanlon said. “We did a great job making sure their offense was scattered while also staying disciplined on defense.”

Great defensive play was the key in the dominating win for GVSU, with Junior Staci Brower leading the team with five blocks. Junior Kaylene Norris played well at libero all night, accounting for 15 assists and seven digs for the Lakers.

“Our libero Kaylene Norris played really well today,” Scanlon said. “I think that was her best match she’s played so far this year.”

Many Lakers played well in the contest, including sophomore Jayci Suseland, who led the team with 13 kills, and sophomore Sydney Benchley, who led the team with four aces.

GVSU has won its last five games now, and the team needs to be able to harness this momentum and improve every practice to lead to a deep playoff run.

“We need to continue to build on what went well this weekend and keep honing in on that,” Scanlon said. “It’s almost November, and in November you focus on playoffs, so almost time to start focusing on building a good playoff team.”

With this win and Wayne State’s loss to Tiffin, GVSU is currently tied for first in the South Division of the GLIAC.

This all makes GVSU’s matchup at Wayne State Saturday, Nov. 4, especially significant, but with the play this team has shown the past couple weeks, the game against Wayne State seems a lot less daunting.

“We’re going to focus on that matchup this whole week in practice,” Scanlon said. “This weekend was a good test, and these matchups really mean something, and for our team to respond the way we have (these past few games) is very positive.”

The game against Wayne State will be at 4 p.m. in Detroit. The winner of that game will take a one-game lead over the GLIAC South Division.