GV Volleyball bounces back against Davenport in final home match after being swept by Ferris State


GVL / Annabelle Robinson

Justice Steiner, Staff Writer

The Grand Valley State University (15-8) women’s volleyball team had its final two home matches of the 2021 regular season this past weekend. The Lakers fell to Ferris State University (19-4) in three sets (25-18, 25-21, 26-24) on Friday, Oct. 29, before defeating Davenport University (13-10) in four sets (25-17, 25-13,18-25, 25-21) the following day.

Friday’s match with FSU was a rematch from earlier this season when the Bulldogs defeated the Lakers in five sets. The two teams came into the match on impressive winning steaks, the Lakers had won five straight, while the Bulldogs were looking to expand on an extensive 13 match win streak. 

Getting off to a quick start, the Lakers began the first set against the Bulldogs with a 14-9 lead. A key contribution to the quick start was the energy and enthusiasm GVSU was bringing to the match early on compared to the Bulldogs. 

“I think our energy is visible; you can see it with our team, you see the jumping around and the excitement that it exudes,” said coach Jason Johnson. “I think with Ferris, it’s not so much that you see their excitement, it’s that they are very comfortable in their own skin and know what they are doing.”

Maintaining their composure, the Bulldogs went on to score five consecutive points, forcing Johnson to call his first timeout of the match. 

Out of the timeout, the Bulldogs continued to have their way with the Lakers as they finished the first set on a 16-4 run to gain a 1-0 advantage in the match. 

Set two was a continuation of the first set, as the Bulldogs seemed to have control of the set from start to finish.

The Lakers found their groove in the third and final set, but it wasn’t enough. Late in the set, sophomore middle blocker Jaelianna Primus had tw0 kills which helped conclude a four-point run to give the Lakers a slim 20-19 lead.

“(Jaelianna) just had an incredible night; she is capable of this and it clicked tonight,” Johnson said.

Halting the run by the Lakers, FSU scored back-to-back points to regain the lead. Trailing by one point, junior outside hitter Ali Thompson recorded three consecutive kills for the Lakers and held what looked to be a promising 23-21 lead, but the Bulldogs would end the set on a 5-1 run to complete the sweep.  

“At the end of the day, 23-21 and I think we had four opportunities to get it to 24 and we couldn’t take a solid swing,” Johnson said. “We were just giving balls back over to Ferris and they finally got back under control and were able to side-out and from that point on went on a 3-0 run.”

This match had more on the line than usual as the two teams were sitting in first and second place in the GLIAC south division. GVSU trailed FSU by just one game in the standings prior to the match. A win for the Lakers would have put them in a position to potentially win the south division. 

Primus finished the match with 12 kills, one block, and two digs. Junior outside hitter Abby Graham added 10 kills and 13 digs, while sophomore outside hitter Lisa Sullivan chipped in with nine kills and four digs. Sophomore setter Rachel Jacquay contributed with 31 assists.

With a quick turnaround, the Lakers had to quickly shift their focus to Saturday’s matchup with the Panthers, which was senior night for GVSU. 

Johnson said that although the loss to FSU was disappointing, the match with Davenport was just as important to maintain a top-four seed in the conference and for the regional rankings.

A well-balanced approach helped lead the way as the Lakers finished the match with five players tailing double-digit kills.

Thompson led the way in the victory for the Lakers, finishing the match with 13 kills and 14 digs. Sophomore middle blocker Sarah Wight chipped in with 13 kills, three digs, and one block. Graham concluded the night with 10 kills and eight digs, while Jacquay finished with a match-high 42 assists. 

The Lakers will travel south to Hammond, Indiana next weekend as they are set to face Purdue University Northwest (2-20) on Saturday, Nov. 6, at 3 p.m, who GVSU swept in their match earlier this season.