GVSU volleyball downs Walsh 3-0 in home opener

Kendall Yerkes led the Lakers with 8 kills and 14 digs

By Brady McAtamney | 9/25/16 10:08pm

The Grand Valley State volleyball team defeated the Walsh Cavaliers 3-0 Saturday, Sept. 24 in its home opener at Fieldhouse Arena, improving to 7-4 (2-1 GLIAC) while Walsh fell to 3-8 (0-4 GLIAC).

The Lakers opened the first set somewhat sluggishly, allowing the Cavaliers to jump out to an early 3-1 advantage. However, the Lakers would strike quickly to take the lead 5-4 and would not fall behind for the rest of the match.

“We just talked about how this isn’t how we can play and this isn’t our game and that we can pick it up and play how we know – play volleyball,” said freshman middle blocker Jayci Suseland. “What we were doing wasn’t like us, so we just had to remind ourselves that we’re a better team than that.”

The first set was won by a score of 25-16, the second 25-21, and the third 25-16.

Suseland put together one of her strongest matches to date with the Lakers, tallying 11 kills with a .526 hit percentage.

Also performing well were freshman Kendall Yerkes (8 kills, 14 digs), juniors Katie Olson (29 assists, 11 digs) and Brooke Smith (9 kills, 6 digs) and sophomore Staci Brower (7 kills).

GVSU's depth was on full display, as 11 players notched at least one point during the victory.

"We can throw anyone in at any time," Yerkes said. "We switch up our defense and offense all the time. Everyone is just always ready to play and it’s just awesome.”

When asked about the importance of the match for this team, GVSU coach Deanne Scanlon’s answer was direct.

“We talked about the importance of this match, how it wasn’t about just getting another win in the conference but to really come out and play a solid match,” Scanlon said. “This is a game that we should win. We should beat them and we should beat them pretty soundly. It wasn’t just that we show up and get through a match, so we hammered them pretty hard about the importance of ‘we need to play well’ and having an urgency and worrying about our side of the net and being productive and doing what we need to do.”

The Lakers played sound volleyball for most of the match, leading the Cavaliers in points, kills, hitting percentage, assists and total blocks while managing only two fewer digs, all while committing less overall errors.

“I thought we had really good energy tonight,” Scanlon said. “Even though we did make subs, the level of play kept pretty consistent. I thought our serving was pretty good, we worked a lot in practice this week with being more aggressive with our serves.”

The Lakers now lead the all-time series between the two schools by a tally of 5-0, four of which were clean sweep victories.

The Ferris State Bulldogs (7-5, 2-1 GLIAC) will travel to Allendale Tuesday to take on the Lakers at Fieldhouse Arena in a battle between conference rivals.

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