Lakers avenge regional title defeat, beat FSU
Wolters' triple-double lifts GVSU to win against rivals
In December, the Ferris State University volleyball team ended Grand Valley State University’s season at the Fieldhouse Arena in a five-set regional championship match, snapping GVSU’s 21-game win streak. Since then, the Lakers have had that loss in the back of their minds, waiting for a chance to exact revenge on their rival.
On Tuesday night in Allendale, No. 18 GVSU took full advantage of its opportunity by beating the No. 14 Bulldogs in four sets (23-25, 25-17, 25-17, 25-22) to earn its fifth consecutive victory.
“Tonight was the first time all season that we clicked, came together and stayed consistent from all aspects on the court,” said GVSU junior Betsy Ronda. “From here, we can focus on what we need to work on and just get out there and have fun.”
In the opening set, Ferris State got out to a fast start, edging the Lakers 25-23 to take the early advantage. The Lakers were not rattled, however, and stormed back to take set two with relative ease, 25-17.
“I’m glad to see them battle through adversity, especially after losing that first set,” said GVSU coach Deanne Scanlon. “They responded well in what I thought was their best set of the night.”
In the third set, with the Lakers trailing 5-8, GVSU buckled down and went on a 13-5 run to take a commanding 21-10 lead. GVSU went on to win the decisive third round 25-17.
“As we lost a point here and there throughout the match, we would gather ourselves and just focus on the next point,” Ronda said. “We were able to string together a couple of runs and that kept the energy up for us, which is huge with a game of this magnitude.”
With their backs against the wall trailing 17-22 in the fourth set, Ferris State mustered up a final comeback attempt, bringing the score within two points in an attempt to push the match to five sets.
It wasn't enough in the end though, as the Lakers would win the fourth set, 25-22.
“It was a time for someone to step up and make a big play, knowing that we didn’t want it to go to five sets,” Scanlon said. “Kaleigh Lound took a big swing, it got blocked, and Sydney Doby did a great job of getting that last block that sealed it for us.”
Senior setter Kaitlyn Wolters shined for the Lakers with 11 kills, 34 assists and 12 digs. It was Wolters’ first career triple-double and the first by a Laker since Nov. 17, 2007 against Lewis University. Ronda added 11 kills and 15 digs in the winning effort.
“It definitely helped that (Ferris State’s) middle blocker shaded toward the outside, it freed me up the opportunity to get some outside attacks,” Wolters said. “I’m happy that I was able to contribute to this win. This win is a step in the right direction of where we want to be as a program.”
The Lakers accomplished what they set out to do in not only getting revenge on their rivals, but also by taking an early lead in the GLIAC North standings. GVSU improves to 7-2 (5-0 GLIAC), while Ferris State falls to 6-3 (4-1 GLIAC).
The Lakers will next prepare for a weekend road trip to Ohio, which features stops at Ohio Dominican University on Friday and Tiffin University on Saturday.