GVSU tunes up for FSU with pair of sweeps

GVL/Kevin Sielaff
#14 Christina Canepa

GVL/Kevin Sielaff

GVL/Kevin Sielaff #14 Christina Canepa

Tate Baker

The Grand Valley State University women’s volleyball team hosted a pair of GLIAC foes over the weekend as Malone University and Walsh University made the trip from Ohio to Fieldhouse Arena.

The teams returned to Ohio without winning a single set, as the Lakers swept both clubs 3-0.

“Against a couple of teams that we knew we were capable of beating, I thought that we used our size and speed against them,” said GVSU junior outside hitter Betsy Ronda. “We put balls away whenever there was an opportunity and didn’t make too many errors.”

On Friday, the Lakers swept Malone 25-20, 25-22, 25-14. Despite being down in sets two and three, the Lakers would rally to take home their first home victory of the fall season.

“We made one too many errors on Friday and that led to them having leads in the second and third sets,” said GVSU coach Deanne Scanlon. “I thought we did a good job of overcoming that and really staying active around the net.”

The Lakers dominated around the net, edging Malone in blocks (8-1) and kills (42-24).

Ten different Lakers had a kill in the match. Freshman middle blocker Sydney Doby supplied seven, while junior Kaleigh Lound and Ronda chipped in with eight apiece as GVSU won its third straight.

“We played with high energy this weekend and I think that contributed the most,” Ronda said. “It wasn’t just the starters, our bench played well and made plays to help us pull out the sweep.”

In Saturday’s matchup with Walsh, GVSU continued to improve with another sweep (25-19, 25-14, 25-14).

“We haven’t put a team away like that all season long,” Scanlon said. “It was nice to see us play to our potential against a GLIAC opponent. Our error count was down and we played just a more clean game overall.”

The Lakers continued to dominate at the net as they out-blocked Walsh 12-2 in the win.

GVSU senior outside hitter Abby Aiken led the way with 10 kills, nine digs and three blocks while senior setter Kaitlyn Wolters contributed with 30 assists, 10 digs and four kills.

“The big difference in Saturday’s game for us is we played a lot more relaxed than we have played lately,” Aiken said. “We didn’t worry about the things that we couldn’t control and our play benefited greatly from that.”

With the sweep, the Lakers improve to 4-0 in the GLIAC and 6-2 overall. During its four-game winning streak, the team has only dropped two sets.

“It’s a good start, but we have to know that we haven’t proved anything to anyone yet,” Aiken said. “We are about to get into the heart of the GLIAC schedule and we have to be at our best every night.

“It starts Tuesday night against Ferris.”

The Lakers host rival Ferris State University on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The last time the rivals met, FSU ended GVSU’s season in Allendale in the regional championship.

“It’s going to be an emotional game for us, seeing how things ended last year,” Ronda said. “We are going to send a message on Tuesday, that we’re prepared and we are in it for the long run.”