Women’s volleyball finishes 1-2 in Midwest Region Crossover


GVL / Macayla Cramer

Madeleine Smith, Staff Writer

In a gritty Midwest Region Crossover this past weekend, the Grand Valley State University women’s volleyball team took one win and two losses against unfamiliar opponents, including the Hillsdale Chargers, Lewis Flyers and Findlay Oilers. 

The Lakers played their first two of three matches on Oct. 14 in Indiana where they squared off against Hillsdale College, an opponent that is second in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC) North Division.

What started as a back-and-forth affair in the first set would ultimately come down to the Chargers taking momentum, as a kill by freshman outside hitter Kendall Stover brought the deficit to within one point (10-11; Chargers). 

However, Hillsdale would score the next point and never look back as they didn’t allow the set to come within three points and would go on to win it, 20-25.

The loss in the first was an evident momentum booster for the Lakers as they came out storming over the opponent and took an early 10-4 lead. Nine points later in favor of GVSU, the set looked to be out of sight for the Chargers as the scoreboard read 19-14 until a quick surge by the opponent brought the match to within a point, 19-18.

GVSU didn’t allow themselves to waiver after the momentum shift as they fought hard to close the set in their favor, 25-20.

Tied at 1-1, Hillsdale jumped to an early lead in the third set as they went up 8-4, but the Lakers would rally back and tied it at 15 each. The rally would eventually fall short of success as Hillsdale made another push to take the set 25-22. 

Facing a 1-2 set deficit and the potential of the next set closing out the match entirely, GVSU’s experience in tough situations came in handy as the Lakers absolutely dominated the Chargers and forced the Chargers to make a desperate attempt at substitutions while the Lakers held a 22-10 lead. Subs or no subs, GVSU didn’t fret and took the set, 25-12.

The Lakers continued to ride their momentum as they closed out the match with a little degree of difficulty as they won 15-5. 

Four Lakers would have 10 or more kills in this match as junior middle blocker/right side hitter Sarah Wight led the team with 19 (.600 hitting percentage), senior middle blocker Jaelianna Primus with 16 (five block assists), freshman setter Jordyn Gates (14) and freshman outside hitter Kendall Stover (10).

Just a few hours later, GVSU faced off against Lewis University (LU) in a tough 0-3 sweep – another team in the top five of their conference.

Although the Lakers weren’t able to pull out a set win, the largest loss was only by six points. GVSU came out very slow in the first set as they found themselves in a 0-7 deficit until Wight was able to put the first points on the board.

The Flyers didn’t let up, however, and brought the score to a commanding 12-20 lead with what seemed to be a sure win within a few more points. GVSU made a few more valiant attempts to prevent a first-set loss, but would go on to lose it 19-25.

During set two, the Lakers looked to be more cohesive as they didn’t allow the Flyers to get out in front by more than six points (9-15). A huge momentum shift would put GVSU up 20-17 and the possibility of tying up the match at one apiece, however, the opponent prevailed and would go on to win a second-straight set, 23-25.

The third and final set of the match was a promising sign that the Lakers would make a resurgence once again as they held a 17-11 lead. The Flyers showed their offensive prowess once again and stormed back with a 6-12 scoring run and tied it up at 23 each.

GVSU would only be able to score one final point as LU closed out the match, 24-26.

Stover led the team this time with nine kills, as Wight and freshman setter Meghan O’Sullivan put up six kills each. 

Oct. 15 consisted of the third and final match for the Midwest Crossover against Findlay College and turned out to be a long, tiresome battle.

The four-set match saw the Lakers put up another valiant effort against the No. 1 ranked G-MAC North opponent as GVSU’s largest set loss was only by five points.

Findlay would take the first set, 24-26 as the Lakers rallied back with a 25-20 win in the second. However, the third set was another two-point decision in favor of Findlay, 25-27 as the fourth and final set went well over the necessary points.

The Lakers stormed out to a 7-2 lead until their opponent found its footing. Unfolding into a back-and-forth affair, neither team was able to get out in front of their opponent by more than one point from the scoreboard reading 14-15 all the way up to the 30-30 marker.

Exhaustion and a long road trip were prevalent amongst both sides of the net as Findlay was able to finally put the finishing touches on the match and close it out, 31-33. Gates (19), Stover (16), Wight (13) and freshman setter McKenzie Johnson (9) added to the team’s total 69 kills. Junior libero Emily Holbrook (17), McKenzie (16), sophomore libero/defensive specialist Julia Blaney (14) and Gates (12) also did their best to contribute to the team effort on defense.

The team was unable to be reached for comment on the outcome of the tournament.

GVSU is back in GLIAC play next weekend as they host back-to-back home games against Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan, the latter being GVSU’s homecoming night. 

The Lakers will play Michigan Tech on Friday, Oct. 21 at 7:00 p.m. and Northern Michigan on Saturday, Oct. 22 at 4:00 p.m.