Bulldogs sink Lakers in straight sets

Zach Sepanik

A season-low .118 hitting percentage led to the No.18 Grand Valley State University volleyball team’s demise as they lost a straight set decision at GLIAC rival Ferris State University on Wednesday, 25-21, 25-15 and 25-22.

The match started off with a glimpse of hope for the Lakers as they built a 15-11 following a kill from freshman Abby Aiken. The kill flustered the Bulldogs, leading to a service error, giving GVSU an 18-15 lead. However, Ferris State would regroup to score the next six points, and take a commanding 21-18 lead.

As the Bulldogs thought they would pull away, sophomores Stacey Catalano and Lyndsey Holt each contributed with a kill, cutting the deficit to 21-20. Yet, it wasn’t mean to be as Ferris State recovered and took the first set, 25-21.

“It is definitely a disappointment not only because we lost but you know there is the rivalry so there is even more emotion going into it because everyone wants to beat Ferris,” said junior setter Olivia Kohler. “It doesn’t feel good and the only thing we can do from it is learn.”

In the second set, an early Catalano kill and Ferris State service error put the Lakers ahead, 2-1. The Bulldogs, however, were able to tie the game back up at 6-6.

With the match close, the Bulldogs stepped on the gas pedal, going on a big run and scoring the next five points to go up 11-6. The momentum crushed the Lakers as they couldn’t make up the deficit, losing the second set by a score of 25-15.

“We just weren’t really having strong connections, like team chemistry,” said senior middle blocker Nicole Whiddon. “It was really embarrassing. We were just having an off day; everyone really was.”

The teams then prepared for the third set, where GVSU held an early 7-5 lead thanks to a Ferris State service error. The lead was pushed to 10-8 after a kill from sophomore Abby Ebels.

Even with the solid start by the Lakers, the Bulldogs bounced back, scoring six of the next seven points to move ahead 14-11. The Lakers still had some fight in them, battling back to tie the third set at 17-all, due in part to a huge service ace from junior Eno Umoh.

Following a Ferris State timeout, the teams exchanged points until they were even at 19 apiece. The Bulldogs then pushed ahead to make it 22-20.

But the fat lady hadn’t sung yet for the Lakers. Sophomore Megan Schroeder had a big kill to cut the lead in half and another Catalano kill made it a 23-22 deficit. Apparently Ferris State liked the pressure as they buckled down and scored the final two points, ending the third set and wining the match in straight sets.

“One of our biggest things as a team was we weren’t there for each other,” Umoh said. “I think we need to be more positive and have more fun. We can’t think that we can’t make mistakes, but need to just play our game instead of playing down to them.”

There were several individual performances that stood out when looking at the stat sheet.

Catalano led the way for the Lakers with 10 kills and 11 digs. Meanwhile, sophomore Sacha Gill recorded a team-high 15 digs and freshman Clair Ruhenkamp had a team-high 19 assists, as well as two service aces. Finally, Whiddon had four kills and recorded a .273 hitting percentage, second best on the team.

The loss drops GVSU to 4-3 on the season, with a 1-2 mark in the GLIAC. The Lakers will prepare for their home opener on Friday night when they take on Lake Superior State in the GVSU Fieldhouse Arena at 7 p.m.

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