Sweep city: GVSU pushes win streak to nine
No. 12 Lakers bounce Lake Erie, Ashland in straight sets
The Grand Valley State University volleyball team came into the weekend riding a seven-game win streak and looking to distance itself from the GLIAC pack in a pair of home matches.
GVSU succeeded in a big way by defeating Lake Erie College and Ashland University in back-to-back sweeps at the Fieldhouse Arena to extend its streak to nine games. The Lakers, who have lost just one set in their last seven matches, improve to 11-2 (9-0 GLIAC) on the season.
“We didn’t play exceptionally well this weekend, but we executed certain parts of our game and that’s what I think we have to take most out of this weekend,” said GVSU coach Deanne Scanlon.
GVSU began the weekend on Friday night by downing Lake Erie in straight sets (25-15, 25-17, 25-22). The Lakers dominated all facets of the game and did not trail by a point at any time in the match.
Senior outside hitter Abby Aiken led the Lakers with 14 digs, junior outside hitter Betsy Ronda paced the team with nine kills and senior setter Kaitlyn Wolters racked up a game-high 20 assists.
“Our confidence has been growing the past couple of weeks, I think that showed this weekend,” Aiken said. “We haven’t seen the best of what the GLIAC has to offer but we’ve done a good job of getting the job done.”
On Saturday, the Lakers squared off with Ashland for the first time since the 2013 postseason.
In 2013, GVSU outlasted the Eagles in a five-set GLIAC Tournament championship match to claim the outright conference title, and went on to end Ashland's season in the Midwest Region Tournament semifinals.
The Lakers continued their recent dominance in the series this time around, handling Ashland rather easily with a thorough victory in straight sets (25-19, 25-17, 25-23).
“The biggest difference this weekend was that we were just out there playing for ourselves, continuing to improve on things, and most importantly just having fun,” said senior middle blocker Ally Simmons. “Everything seems to be coming together at the right time, we’re going to roll with the momentum that we have going right now.”
Betsy Ronda stood out once again for the Lakers by posting nine kills and 10 digs. The stat line also showed an impressive performance from the Wolters twins: Kaitlyn Wolters had 24 assists while Kourtney Wolters led the way with a game-high 13 digs.
“October is a tough month for our team; you really have to grind out these couple of weeks,” Scanlon said. “The kids have to deal with midterms coming up and the fact that our GLIAC schedule is as rigorous as it is at this time. I’m really impressed with how we competed.”
Now sitting on top of the GLIAC standings with an undefeated conference record, Scanlon said she is asking her team to continue to dig deep and continue what they've started this season.
“Our team has done a great job of serving and playing defense, however our offense has struggled at times,” she said. “Our offense just isn’t there yet. I think that it soon may be, we just have to clean up a couple of areas.”
The Lakers will hit the road next weekend when they travel to Hillsdale College (7-6, 6-3 GLIAC) on Friday and the University of Findlay (11-3, 8-1 GLIAC) on Saturday.