A Lukewarm Premier
GVSU women's volleyball team goes 2-2 at weekend Grand Rapids Classic
The Riverfront Hotel Grand Rapids Classic proved to be an emotional roller-coaster ride for the home team.
The Grand Valley State University women’s volleyball team upset the No. 6 team in the country over
the weekend, but was plagued by an inability to close out games, ultimately finishing with a 2-2
record in the seven-team event at Fieldhouse Arena.
“These were some of the best volleyball teams in the country,” GVSU head coach Deanne Scanlon
said. “We know where we stand right now, but also know where we fall short.”
The team started its season off on the right foot on Friday against Adelphi University, sweeping the
Panthers in three sets (25-14, 25-16, 25-14). The tables were turned in the night cap, however, as
the Lakers were then swept by St. Leo University (25-15, 28-26, 25-23).
GVSU appeared to be in for a long weekend after a 25-12 loss in the first set against No. 6
Southwest Minnesota State University on Saturday, until sophomore outside hitter Betsy Ronda took
matters into her own hands. The Lakers raced out to a 7-0 lead behind four service aces from
Ronda, which seemed to completely swing the momentum against one of the nation’s top teams.
“Our coaches were hammering us about making the next play and forgetting about the past,” she
The 2012 GLIAC Freshman of the Year was unstoppable at times and eventually led the team to
three straight victories (25-21, 26-24, 25-20). She finished with a total of 16 kills and eight digs.
The stage was set for a thrilling finale against Eckerd College; both teams entered the season
ranked just outside the top 25.
GVSU’s lack of experience ended up being the difference in a wild, four-set battle with the Tritons,
as each set was decided by two points (26-24, 25-23, 30-28, 27-25). The teams exchanged blows
throughout, as evidenced by 33 tie scores and 12 lead changes.
Junior outside hitter Abby Aiken proved to be an outstanding asset in the loss, racking up 28 digs
to go with 25 kills.
“We had a lot of leads this weekend,” Aiken said. “It was frustrating, especially because we know we
can beat these teams. We just have to be more conscious about where we are in the game.”
Sophomore setter Kaitlyn Wolters also had a strong performance, tallying 50 assists, while
freshman libero Nicayla Joyce notched 21 digs and a pair of service aces.
Although the event was frustrating at times, the Lakers showed a great deal of athleticism, potential and resiliency in each of the four games. The team lost five of seven sets by two points or less.
“We had a lot of ups and downs,” Ronda said. “We know we’re right there, but just have to learn to
gut out those last couple of points and make plays when we need to.”
The team will return to action Friday when it heads west to play four games in the Oredigger Classic
at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colo.