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 splits pair of away games against NMU and Michigan Tech

GVL / Macayla Cramer

Grand Valley State University’s women’s volleyball opened the first weekend of Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) play with a lopsided loss to Michigan Tech University (0-3), followed up by a win against Northern Michigan University (3-1). 

The Sept. 15 matchup was the opening night of GLIAC play for the Lakers. Playing in an away environment, GVSU opened the first set with a 2-0 lead against the Huskies before Michigan Tech battled back to even the score at 3-3. The Lakers would regain their lead at 7-4 before the Huskies ultimately took control, winning the set 25-21.

Michigan Tech expanded on their momentum and broke out the second set with a 3-6 run before Lakers’ head coach Jason Johnson called a timeout in hopes of preventing the deficit from getting out of hand. After the timeout, GVSU regrouped by taking the next two points. The Huskies eventually regained control, winning the set 25-19. 

Michigan Tech started quickly to open the third set, taking a 6-2 lead, putting the Lakers in a predicament leading GVSU to call a timeout. After a 5-1 run by the Huskies, the Lakers again called a timeout to stop the bleeding. GVSU battled back but eventually dropped the set 25-18 giving them their first loss of the season.

Junior Jordyn Gates led the Lakers as the only player with double-digit kills with 13, while sophomore outside hitter Kendal Stover led the team in digs with 11.

In hopes of bouncing back after Friday’s loss, the Lakers refocused themselves for their game against NMU. It started with an explosive kill by Jordyn Gates, firing her team up. GVSU came out with a 6-4 lead against the Wildcats, but NMU fought back and tied the set at eight all. The set went back and forth, as the Lakers clung to an 18-15 lead, fending off a late push by the Wildcats to win the first set 25-21.

The Lakers came out hot again to start the second set with a 5-1 run, but the Wildcats didn’t panic, as they managed to get back into the game with yet another tug-of-war battle for the lead. After it tied at 22 all, the Wildcats closed out the second set 25-23.

GVSU continued to battle in an effort to come home from their road trip with a win. The Lakers came out with a strong 7-3 lead to open the third. After pushing their lead to 16-7, GVSU forced the Wildcats to take a timeout. GVSU dominated the remainder of the set, allowing NMU to score just four more points, winning the third set 25-11.

Looking to close out the game, the Lakers pushed at the start of the fourth set with a 7-4 lead. The dominance continued as GVSU went on a 5-0 run, riding the momentum to a 25-11 fourth-set win and match victory.

When asked how he refocused the team coming out of the loss to Michigan Tech going into the game against NMU, Johnson said it was the players that led the effort.

“To be honest with you it was them. We had some conversations on the bus ride and addressed a few things here and there,” Johnson said. “But the team really took control of it. They addressed each other, they talked about the things they wanted to do differently and reaffirmed the goals they set forth.” 

The Lakers are looking at this weekend as a building block going forward.

“Starting off undefeated, we had really high hopes going into GLIAC play. They were the hardest competition we have seen yet, so it was really important early on to get tested a little bit. But our biggest focus was to learn from it, to move on and settle back in,” Gates said, who credits the team’s seniors for the renewed focus and optimism going further into the season.

The Lakers will have a chance to show their talent and optimism at their upcoming game on Friday, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m. against Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich.

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