New Blood, New Bounty

First-year starters step up against ranked teams

By Jay Bushen | 9/18/13 5:39pm

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GVL / Archive
Kaleigh Lound


Sophomore Kaleigh Lound’s first breakout game could not have come at a better time. The Grand Valley State University women’s volleyball team was more than 1,000 miles away from home without one of its best players and staring down No. 6 Washburn University when Lound put on a display of
athleticism that carried GVSU to a remarkable upset at the Oredigger Classic in Golden, Colo.

“It was a coming out party for her,” said associate head coach Jason Johnson. “During the match
against Washburn, she really stepped up and stood out for us. She was the better athlete on the floor
of all the middles that were out there on both sides of the net.”

Lound, who joined the team following a walk-on tryout in 2012, emerged as a starter in the spring
following the departures of middle blockers Abby Ebels and All-GLIAC first-teamer Eno Umoh.

She not only led the team in kills (13) against the Ichabods, but also in blocks (3) in the team’s five-
set victory. It was her first career match with a double-digit kill total, which is noteworthy considering
that it came against a team that had not vacated the AVCA Top 10 for 53 consecutive weeks.

“It was an adrenaline rush,” she said.

GVSU (6-2) had emphasized the importance of spreading the ball around during practice all week, and
it showed. The team had relied heavily on its pair of All-GLIAC outside hitters during the Riverfront
Hotel Grand Rapids Classic a week before, as sophomore Betsy Ronda and junior Abby Aiken
combined for more than half of the team’s kills through four games.

After Ronda suffered an injury in the match against Washburn, Lound was called upon to assert herself
offensively. The Mason, Mich. native answered the call.

“She was always an option in the middle,” Aiken said. “When she did get a set, she put the ball away,
which is what we needed. She’s been working hard to get in that spot and she deserves it.”

GVSU was two weeks away from a two-year AVCA Top 25 hiatus, but moved up to the No. 21 spot
after beating three ranked opponents in a seven-day span while posting a 4-0 record in the event.

The Lakers not only found a new offensive weapon inside, but also discovered the emergence of a
reliable setter who transferred from Grand Rapids Community College.

Junior Kaitlyn Wolters was outstanding in each of the four games in Colorado, racking up 182 assists
to go with 48 digs, 16 kills, six blocks and three service aces. Wolters not only earned a spot on the
All-Tournament team, but was also tabbed as the GLIAC North Division Player of the Week.

Wolters figures to add depth to a team that seems to be putting all the pieces together at the right
time, and if the Lakers can continue to get this type of production from a variety of positions, it could
lead to big things for the team in 2013.

GVSU begins its GLIAC schedule this weekend at Fieldhouse Arena, starting tomorrow against Hillsdale
College at 7 p.m. before taking on Northwood University on Saturday at 4 p.m.

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