GV women’s volleyball secures two wins during three-game homestand


GVL / Macayla Cramer

Madeleine Smith, Staff Writer

In a tough GLIAC matchup this past weekend, Grand Valley State University women’s volleyball lost to the Ferris State Bulldogs in four sets that finished 25-15, 25-27, 18-25 and 21-25.

The Sept. 8 match showed promising signs for the Lakers as they came out hot to start the first set. GVSU built a lead that they didn’t allow to dip below three points, preventing the Bulldogs from putting together a scoring run.

GVSU would ultimately take the first set by 10 points as freshman Jordyn Gates led the offensive attack with six kills and contributed two of the last three points to seal the set win.

However, a back-and-forth affair would take place after the set intermission that went down to the wire. After what seemed like a comfortable lead that was built by the Lakers once again (17-12), the Bulldogs were able to strike back with a run of their own.

Mounting an 8-3 run in favor of Ferris State, the opposing team finally took their first lead of the match. The set went down to the wire as the scoreboard read 24-24 and the gymnasium fell quiet. Three points later, the Bulldogs would ultimately close out the set, 25-27.

The Lakers have found themselves dropping sets after building what seems like a solid lead in a handful of matches so far, and head coach Jason Johnson commented on what he saw in set two.

“I don’t think we put enough pressure on Ferris to make them uncomfortable after that first set,” Johnson said. “That was evident as their hitting percentages went up.”

A close game such as this can be extremely nerve-wracking for those participating and watching from the sidelines, and Johnson commented on how quickly the atmosphere can change in this sport.

“Volleyball is one of the most unique and difficult sports to play due to the fact that you can get off to a great lead, end the set, and then you have to start over at zero to zero again,” Johnson said. “So any momentum you had or feeling you had about what was going on…it changes so quickly.”

GVSU would attempt to shake off the tough loss heading into the third but found themselves struggling to prevent their opponent from taking control of the momentum and building a lead that would allow the Bulldogs from taking a second-straight set, 18-25.

There was no surprise going into this match that this would be a tough battle with intensity radiating from both sides, and Johnson said his experience facing Ferris State has been similar in the past.

“(Ferris) knows how to win and they have a mentality that doesn’t get rattled under pressure often,” Johnson said. 

Down 1-2 and with the possibility of losing their second game at home, the Lakers mustered a valiant effort to force a fifth and final set.

Neither side of the net was able to build a lead larger than five points (Ferris State; 3-8) as yet another back-and-forth battle took place. The Lakers were able to take the lead by one point but would quickly lose it as the Bulldogs either tied the set or took the lead themselves. 

The fourth and final set of the match fell in favor of Ferris State once again as the Bulldogs stole a road win, 1-3.

Even in the loss, the Lakers’ serve-receive technique and consistent block coverage showed improvements as they totaled 10 blocks, 60 kills, 52 assists and 3 aces.  

Gates had a season-high in kills with 17 while adding 20 assists and nine digs. Gates was of course disappointed by the loss but said she knows that the team is capable of raising the intensity levels much higher going forward.

“(It) obviously is not the outcome we prepared for or wanted, but I think as a team we have been working so hard to raise the pressure,” Gates said. “Today was one of the first days we’ve done that, so it’s a great (as we) start heading into the end of conference play.”

Sophomore Jaelianna Primus and freshman Kendall Stover also put up solid numbers on offense with 12 and 10 kills respectively.

Sophomore Rachel Jacquay dished out 28 assists followed by Gates (20), and freshman McKenzie Johnson led the team with 20 digs with senior Savannah Thompson also contributing 17 of her own.

With GLIAC tournament action less than a month away, Johnson said, “being a champion is about managing the ups and the downs of a match.”

The Lakers will head back on the road as they face Lake Superior State on Sunday, Oct. 9 and begin the Midwest Region Crossover Tournament on Friday, Oct. 14-15.