Battle tested: GVSU volleyball splits weekend matches
Kendall Yerkes sets the ball. GVL / Sheila Babbitt
Returning home from their upper peninsula road trip, the Grand Valley State women’s volleyball team had an impressive weekend against Northwood and Ferris State.
The first game against Northwood on Friday, Sept. 28 was a clean 3-0 sweep for the Lakers improving their overall record to 11-5. The Lakers scored 25-12, 27-25, and 25-2.
GVSU had very balanced offensive to defensive strategies against the Timberwolves. Overall, the Lakers led in kills (45-34), assists (37-33), blocks (six-two) and digs (69-54). Quickly shutting Northwood out the first game kept momentum high and gave the Lakers an advantage over the next two sets that would help them beat Northwood in stats and score.
“I thought we came out and started executing early and got onto the plays pretty quickly,” Scanlon said. “We knew Northwood would bounce back though after that first game, but I thought we came out strong and had control the whole match.”
Staci Brower led the Lakers with 13 kills and Hannah Murdock was right behind her with nine of her own. Ashlyn Kartes led in assists with 17 assists and Kendall Yerkes led with 21 digs.
On Saturday, Sept. 29, GVSU faced off against Ferris State University. The Lakers lost to the Bulldogs 3-1. While the games seemed close, it was not enough for the Lakers to beat FSU with scores of 18-25, 18-25, 25-22 and 18-25.
The first two sets started as a battle for points between the two teams with both Ferris State and GVSU favoring their outside and right side hitters, trying to hit the other in their weakest corners. Offensively, GVSU was running multiple plays, however, defensively they lacked in digs whereas Ferris State picked up on them.
However, the Lakers won the third set against Ferris with a competitive energy level and strategic offensive kills and tips to throw off the Bulldogs. They had several long rally’s for points where the Lakers persevered and put the ball down.
While communication and energy were up for the third set the Lakers lost some of their momentum going into the fourth set. The Lakers played hard, but the Bulldogs put the ball down faster and harder than the Lakers could pick up.
“I was disappointed and thought we didn’t start off well,” Scanlon said. “There wasn’t much of a push back and it was a battle for points. Defensively, our effort was better but we just weren’t able to sustain that competitive level that we needed.”
Brower and Abby Graham led in kills with 15 and eight, respectively. Kendall Yerkes led in digs with 25 digs with Ali Thompson behind her with 19. The Lakers led both teams in blocks five to two.
This puts GVSU’s record at 11-6 overall. With the season almost reaching its halfway mark, the team is looking back on some good wins and tough losses with much more to come for the GLIAC conference.
“It’s been a season of ups and downs with good wins and growth for a lot of our younger players,” Scanlon said. “We still struggle with consistency and are working on improving in the areas we are deficient in.”
The Lakers hope to improve on their defense and record as they face Saginaw Valley State at University Center, Mich. on Friday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. After that, they'll travel to Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. to play Lake Superior State on Saturday, Oct. 6 at 2 p.m.