GV volleyball drops a pair at home, unable to snap losing streak


Macayla Cramer

Madeleine Smith, Staff Writer

GVSU’s women’s volleyball team played in back-to-back home games this past weekend against Michigan Tech University and the Northern Michigan Wildcats. 

After taking their first match earlier this season in a solid sweep against the Huskies, the Lakers struggled against MTU in the second faceoff as the four-set match finished 18-25, 25-12, 19-25 and 15-25.  

MTU came out with an intense start in the first set as they would go on a 2-9 scoring run to end the set. However, the Lakers fought back hard in set two as they responded with a dominating 25-12 set two to even the match, 1-1.

In sets three and four, MTU again used a late scoring run to get ahead and ultimately took control over the next two sets, taking it 15-25 to win the match.

Even with a tough loss at home, head coach Jason Johnson believes the team put up multiple strong efforts to battle back through their continuity.

“I think our girls did a great job of working through mistakes they made and didn’t allow too many things to get to them tonight,” Johnson said. “The transition in set two with (senior middle blocker) Mattie McCabe going in started that transition of the energy, the connectivity (and) the verbal communication as far as how we were connecting on the court.”

Freshman outside hitter Kendall Stover led the team in kills in the match (13), as senior middle blocker Jaelianna Primus (11) and junior middle blocker Sarah Wight (10) followed in second and third respectively.

Freshman setter McKenzie Johnson (20) and junior libero Emily Holbrook (16) also put forth valiant efforts to keep the team alive through their defense as they led the team in digs.

Following the loss, the Lakers held their annual homecoming match against Northern Michigan which was nothing short of a cutthroat battle.

Concerns of another sweep by the Wildcats and an upset at home began to rise after GVSU dropped the first two sets 23-25 and 19-25. 

However, the Lakers were able to find their groove in the third set as they managed to pull away with a 25-19 win in a back-and-forth battle. GVSU expanded on the newfound momentum with another dominant set win in the fourth as it finished 25-14.

Finally able to get their passes under control a bit more and utilize their strong hitters, GVSU’s energy was visibly stronger as the bench and home crowd began to buzz. 

Junior setter Rachel Jacquay stated that these types of momentum boosters play a significant factor in how the team performs overall.

 “Our bench was always electric, and you could see how it positively impacted the court,” Jacquay said.

Tied at 2-2 and heading into a winner take all set, the Lakers hoped to complete the comeback in front of their home crowd.

GVSU started the final set 3-0 as signs continued to point to a fierce win. However, the Wildcats regained their composure in the eleventh hour so to speak, and would ultimately mount the deficit in yet another back-and-forth affair, 12-15.

This isn’t the first time the Lakers maintained a lead and needed to close out one last set to add a win to their season record, and Johnson said the team has to be able to come together more on defense in order to change the outcome of the tough losses.

“Part of it (capitalizing on passing and having a strong ability to get digs) is out of necessity because we have not been a very strong blocking team throughout the season,” Johnson said. “(Although) I mean twelve blocks in five sets is pretty decent.”

Freshman setter Jordyn Gates (16) and Stover led the team in kills at the conclusion of this match as Wight followed it with 13 of her own.

Jacquay and Gates also led the team in assists with 27 and 20 respectively, as Gates (18) and Holbrook (16) did their best to add to the overall defensive efforts in the digs column.

The back-to-back losses drop the Lakers’ record to 14-10 overall and 7-6 in conference play as their losing streak extends to four-straight losses.

The Lakers will have a handful of days to rest as they face their crosstown rival Davenport University for the second time this season (previously lost 1-3), on Oct. 25 and will travel to Big Rapids to seek redemption against the Ferris State Bulldogs on Friday, Oct. 28.