GVSU volleyball drops early lead in 3-2 loss to Wayne State
After a solid home opener against GLIAC opponents this past weekend, the Grand Valley State women’s volleyball team was ready to start conference play 3-0 against Wayne State Tuesday, Sept. 19.
The Lakers jumped to an early lead, winning the first two sets of the match, but then proceeded to drop the next three sets to lose the match 3-2. The Lakers now sit with a 5-6 record on the year and 2-1 in GLIAC play.
The Lakers' front line of attack is what stood out early in the contest. The combination of Staci Brower, Jayci Suseland, Shannon Winicki and Kendall Yerkes had a total of 19 kills through the first two sets, resulting in the Lakers winning those sets 25-22 and 25-17.
GVSU women’s volleyball coach Deanne Scanlon was pleased with what the Lakers did right in the first half of the match.
“We came out with an urgency and battled through some tough points," Scanlon said. "We were able to take advantage of some good matchups we had.”
The Lakers took a two-set lead into the first break and only needed one more set victory to win the match. However, the momentum started to shift in the favor of Wayne State.
The third set saw the Lakers down early, in large part due to the front line of Wayne State, which scored early in the set with some big blocks against the Laker offense. The Lakers trailed by as many as seven points during this set but never seemed out of it, making a late push to bring the game to 21-20. Despite a great effort to try to come back to complete the sweep, the Warriors took the set 25-23.
In the fourth set, the Warriors continued their stellar play from the previous set, taking a big lead on GVSU. Fatigue began to look like a factor for GVSU as they were caught out of position multiple times, leading to easy scores for WSU. At one point, the Lakers trailed 23-14, but they managed to fight back. Much like the third set, though, the Lakers' fight back came a little too late as they dropped the fourth set 25-22.
With GVSU and WSU tied at two sets apiece, they would go into a final decisive fifth set.
The Lakers did not get off to a strong start in this set. The Warriors took advantage of GVSU's defensive struggles with positioning and communication, with aces that led to a lead that the Warriors never gave up. WSU won the last set 15-7 to take the overall 3-2 match win.
For the most part, the two teams were fairly even in many statistical categories. WSU finished with three more kills than GVSU, and the two teams finished with the same number of errors and blocks. However, the one category in which WSU led that played a big factor in the outcome was the aces. GVSU had only one ace as a team, while WSU ended the match with 10.
Coach Scanlon could only point the finger at her team for their struggles in the second half.
“What’s been our nemesis all year long is when teams bounce back, we don’t respond,” Scanlon said. “Our service and passing needs to improve. We gave up 10 aces on our home court, and we only had one.”
Although she did not get the outcome she would have liked, Scanlon did see some bright spots from her team.
“I think Dani McCormick coming off the bench was a bright spot, as she really brought a spark to the team," Scanlon said. "She had seven kills and led the team in hitting percentage. It's important to know that any player can make an impact and that the little things that they do can help set us in the right direction.”
GVSU will look to improve against GLIAC rival Davenport Friday, Sept. 22, in Grand Rapids.