GVSU splits two-game road trip

GV lost to Hillsdale 3-2 and rebounded against Northwood 3-1

By Brady McAtamney | 9/18/16 11:24pm

GVL / Kevin Sielaff - Brooke Smith (8) celebrates with her team after a point scored. Grand Valley squares off against Ohio Dominican and claims the victory with a final score of 3-1.
by Kevin Sielaff and Kevin Sielaff / The Lanthorn

The Grand Valley State Laker volleyball team split a weekend series this weekend on the road against two GLIAC opponents to improve to 6-4 (1-1 GLIAC) on the season.

The first match was a battle of attrition with the Hillsdale Chargers (7-2, 1-1 GLIAC), which the Lakers dropped by a score of 3-2 and won the second game against the Northwood Timberwolves (7-3, 1-1 GLIAC) 3-1.

In the opening game, the Lakers felt as though they were not executing their predetermined game plan and said their serves were soft and they lacked their usual aggressiveness.

“We were serving soft and we tried not to get our heads blown off by the ball because they were coming back hard,” said head coach Deanne Scanlon. “We were just lackadaisical. We waited way too long. We let them control the pace right away instead of coming out and being intentional and aggressive which can’t happen on the road.”

Because of the slow start, the Chargers managed to swipe the first two sets before the Lakers figured things out and nabbed the next two sending the match to a pivotal fifth set.

The Chargers recuperated and won the final set by a tight tally of 15-13.

“It was difficult to play defense behind (the serves) so we’ll probably be working on our serves this week,” said sophomore Staci Brower.

The Lakers flipped the script the next afternoon despite dropping the first set 25-16. They would end up taking the next three sets to secure a commanding and reassuring victory before hitting the road back to Allendale.

“We did very well in first ball kill,” sophomore Brooke Smith said. “We didn’t allow many runs, we did really good siding out and gaining momentum throughout the match.”

Scanlon was impressed with the difference in her teams play from Friday to Saturday.

“I think they kept a positive attitude and they never really panicked, but they just kept grinding,” Scanlon said. “They didn’t play great volleyball and they made adjustments. We didn’t do that on Friday, but on Saturday we came back and adjusted and blocked and were able to hold down the offense. We made their hitters worry about our block which helped us get into a little bit of a better rhythm.”

Among the strong performers for the Lakers over the weekend were Brower (30 kills, five digs and two blocks), Smith (21 kills and 36 digs), freshman Jayci Suseland (26 kills, nine digs and three blocks), senior Amanda Glaza (23 digs and four assists), and senior Sydney Doby, who recently returned from an ankle sprain.

“I think Staci Brower has really established herself as that person on our team,” Scanlon said. “She has an incredible work ethic and teams are going to focus on her and she knows it. She gives a steadiness to our lineup that lets some kids settle in.”

Brower said “any success that any individual has is because of their teammates” and thanked her fellow Lakers for helping her thrive this season.

The Lakers continue their GLIAC season slate at home on Saturday against Walsh (3-6, 0-2 GLIAC).

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