The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

GV Volleyball sweeps the court at Ferris Invite after cancelling trip due to Hurricane Idalia

Courtesy GVSU Athletics

With the news of Hurricane Idalia, the Grand Valley State University volleyball team and their head coach Jason Johnson scouted the course of the hurricane and the possibility of having to cancel their trip to Lakeland, Fla. early in the week.

“In 28 years of coaching, I can’t say I’ve ever experienced anything like this. Come Monday, we were tracking the storm and trying to change our flights to come in on Thursday, and we had to make a decision on Monday or Tuesday,” Johnson said.

Hurricane Idalia made landfall in the Gulf Coast of Florida on Wednesday, when GVSU was anticipated to fly in, altering the Lakers’ travel plans for the Lakeland Invitational.

According to senior Rachel Jacquay, missing out on the chance to travel with the team was a disappointment.

“It was pretty unfortunate since it was Sarah (Wight), Bella (Kandes), Carley (Baughman), Maddie (Gates) and my last time going. We always spend one or two days exploring where we go shopping or just sightseeing, so it was definitely a little disappointing,” Jacquay said.

Instead, GVSU called rival Ferris State University’s head volleyball coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm about the possibility of playing in their invite at the last minute.

“She (Brandel-Wilhelm) was gracious enough to find a couple of matches for us,” Johnson said.

Although they lost the ability to play two additional matches, the team was just happy to get time on the court. 

Senior setter Sarah Wight led the way in a dominant effort for the Lakers as she tallied a combined five aces, eight blocks and eighteen kills in the invitational.

“Sarah is definitely somebody who we are going to be leaning on heavily this year in a leadership role and in a performance role due to the fact she’s a fifth-year player,” Johnson said. “Rachel (Jacquay) kinda falls into that same category.” 

“Sarah went crazy. On the bench we were going crazy,” Jacquay said.

In turn, GVSU went 2-0, with sweeps in both matches against Thomas More University and Malone University. The Lakers dominated both games with wins of 25-17, 25-11 and 25-10 against Thomas More and games of 25-11, 25-12 and 25-12 against Malone.

Johnson mentioned junior Julia Blaney, among others, as someone who played great, particularly in the first match.

“She had a very good day in that position not only from an execution standpoint but also from a leadership standpoint as it relates to communicating out on the court,” Johnson said.

Blaney had 15 digs for the Lakers, leading the team against Thomas Moore, and had four more against Malone.

“All week in practice we were working on blocks, so our front row was doing a really good job of setting blocks, so a lot of it was to my hitters up front who were setting good blocks so I could defend around them,” Blaney said.

Among other team-leading performers was Jordyn Gates with a combined 25 assists, 19 kills, 13 digs and five blocks on the day. Kendall Stover tallied 15 kills, 10 digs, five assists, four aces and three blocks. Johnson listed Gates and Stover along with Wight, Jacquay and Blaney as key contributors to the victories.

The Lakers look to continue their hot start and will head back home for their home opener in Allendale, Mich. as they take on Colorado Christian on Sept. 7 at 6 p.m. It will be the first of a four-game series that runs from Thursday through Saturday.

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About the Contributor
Nelson Hubbell
Nelson Hubbell, Sports Editor
Nelson Hubbell is the Sports Editor for the Lanthorn for the 2023-2024 school year. A senior at Grand Valley State University, before his time with the Lanthorn, he was a staff writer for The Collegiate Live, Grand Rapids Community College's student publication where he was a student for two years. He worked for a restaurant for four and a half years in Holland, Mich. called Hops at 84 East, a place he holds close to his heart. During his time there he was a manager for roughly two years. He loves camping, hiking and being outside in general. He is super passionate about football, basketball, baseball and hockey and loves all things sports and competition. Nelson will be pursuing a career in sportscasting as a play-by-play broadcaster and or as an analyst after his time at GVSU. Graduating Winter 2024 Major: Multimedia Journalism