GV women’s volleyball shows promise during four-game road trip


GVL / Annabelle Robinson

Jason Millis, Staff Writer

The Grand Valley State University women’s volleyball team began their fall season on the road, tallying a 3-1 overall record as they defeated Notre Dame College (3-0), Mercyhurst University (3-0), Malone University (3-1) and ultimately were swept by Gannon University in a tough 0-3 loss.

Jason Johnson, second-year head coach for the Lakers, believes the key to a successful season is to keep taking steps forward as a program versus dwelling on the shortcomings of any previous season. 

“We matched up very successfully against the two teams on Friday,” said Johnson. “For our first match on Saturday, we matched up pretty favorably for ourselves again, but we lost a little focus and that resulted in the set that we dropped.”

In the sweep against Notre Dame College, the Lakers were able to shut out the Falcons in three sets that finished 25-10, 25-23 and 25-19. Junior middle blockers Sarah Wight and Jaelianna Primus led the offense with eight kills each, with freshman setter Jordyn Gates following with six kills and 14 assists. 

The second match of the evening consisted of yet another sweep against Mercyhurst, as Primus (11) and Gates (8) led the team in kills once more with another stand-out contribution from senior outside hitter Savannah Thompson (7). The sets finished 25-14, 25-13 and 25-14.

The Lakers continued their dominance on day two against Malone University in a four-set battle, closing the match 25-17, 22-25, 25-15 and 25-7. Primus, Stover and freshman setter Meghan O’Sullivan all led the Lakers with 11 kills each. Gates and junior setter Rachel Jacquay controlled the pace of the offense 25 and 20 assists in that respective order. 

However, the success of the two-day matches would come to a close as the Lakers were unable to figure out how to stop Gannon. The Lakers fell 14-25 in the first set, 12-25 in the second, and showed a little promise in a back-and-forth rally in the third set until the Knights eventually closed out the day, 26-24.

“We knew that Gannon would be the toughest match for us this weekend,” Johnson said. “They have been a very seasoned and successful program over the last five to ten years. I think we just struggled to get it under control at the time. I would have liked to see us be a little more competitive early in the match. Overall, I was pleased with the outcome of everything we did this weekend.”

Primus led the Lakers with a total of 33 kills over the course of the tournament. Gates totaled 28 kills, 72 digs and 67 assists during the tournament. Freshman outside hitter Kendall Stover also stood out with 30 kills and 29 digs. 

“Primus really led us all weekend,” Johnson said. “Her blocking, her offense and her willingness to be available consistently were all really top notch.”

With the loss against Gannon still looming behind them, Johnson reflected on what he believes the Lakers need to do in order to maintain the possibility of being a top team in the conference.

“The hope is that we are able to put ourselves in a position to make another NCAA tournament,” Johnson said. “In order to do that, we’ve got to be consistent and successful early. For us, it’s always going to be about putting ourselves in the best position to be successful. We hope that our program can consistently be one of those programs representing our conference in the NCAA tournament.”

The Lakers are set to face Bentley University to start a four-game series in the Uindy Invitational on Friday, Sept. 2 in Indianapolis.