Sept. 14, 2013
Golden, Colo. - One day after winning a pair of five-set battles at the Oredigger Classic in Golden, Colo., Grand Valley State captured a pair of four-set victories on Saturday (Sept. 14). The Lakers won the final three sets to defeat Fort Lewis in the morning before knocking off #22 Central Washington in the afternoon.
GVSU was a perfect 4-0 at the tournament hosted by Colorado School of Mines and played quite a tough schedule. One of the Lakers' wins on Friday was over #6 Washburn and paired with Saturday's victory against #22 Central Washington, Grand Valley State has defeated three ranked teams in the first two weeks of the season.
After starting slow against Fort Lewis, the Lakers won the next three sets (17-25, 25-19, 25-12, 25-23). GVSU generally outplayed Central Washington in earning the victory against the Wildcats (25-14, 25-23, 22-25, 25-17). Grand Valley State is now 6-2 on the season, while Fort Lewis was 0-7 and CWU is 4-4.
Fort Lewis picked up an early 1-0 lead in the match, using a 15-4 run to turn a 7-7 tie into a 22-11 advantage. The Skyhawks eventually closed out the set 25-17, but Grand Valley State would rebound. After playing two extremely competitive five-set contests on Friday, the Lakers started to find their footing in the second set against FLC.
GVSU was up 19-17 in the second set and scored five of the next six points to pull away and win 25-17. The Lakers were dominant in set three, hitting at a .381 attack clip and holding Fort Lewis to a -.107 mark. Behind a kill from junior Abby Aiken and consecutive service aces from setter Kaitlyn Wolters, GVSU was up 10-2 and extended that cushion to 20-7. Moments later, the Lakers captured a 25-12 victory.
Grand Valley State owned a lead for most of the fourth frame, which featured back-to-back-to-back kills by Aiken, all assisted by Wolters. When Fort Lewis knotted the score at 17-17, the Lakers tallied four straight points and opened a 21-17 advantage. The Skyhawks, however, tied the score again at points 21 and 22, but kills from sophomores Kaleigh Lound and Jessica Majerle closed out the set and the match in GVSU's favor.
The Laker defense forced Fort Lewis into 32 attack errors and just a .040 hitting percentage, while GVSU notched 12 total blocks (compared to three for FLC). Aiken's double-double of 14 digs and 13 kills (both match-bests) paired nicely with her .306 attack percentage. Senior Megan Schroeder tallied seven blocks, while Lound supplied seven kills and six blocks to go with a .417 hitting clip.
Majerle, in her first extended action of the season due to an injury, added seven kills in 16 swings, while Wolters passed for 30 assists and notched seven digs and three of GVSU's six aces.
In the opening set against Central Washington, the duo of Wolters-to-Aiken struck again, notching four of GVSU's 10 points, including three consecutive kills to up the score to 10-3. The Wildcats were never close in the opening frame, as Lound recorded a kill and a solo block in the final three points to clinch the 25-14 win.
Set two saw Central Washington come back from a 15-11 deficit to lead 21-19. Grand Valley State then tied the score and used a kill and a service ace from freshman Rachel Dickerson to take a 23-21 advantage. Moments later, Aiken's kill ended the frame and put the Lakers on top, 2-0.
The third set was tied 12 times, including a 22-22 knotted score before CWU scored three consecutive points to get back in the match. Grand Valley State, however, had its best offensive set (.344, 15 kills) in the fourth, jumping out to a quick 4-0 lead. With the score tied at 7-7, GVSU scored six straight points, including two kills from Schroeder. The Lakers continued to roll and just like in the win over Fort Lewis, Majerle ended this match with a kill.
GVSU hit. 197 in the match and held Central Washington to just a .111 clip. While the Wildcats had more blocks (11-9), the Lakers tallied more digs (71-66), kills (54-46), and aces (5-3). Four Laker players had double-digit digs, led by junior Christina Canepa's 22 pickups.
Aiken had another strong performance with a match-best 17 kills, 11 digs, and three block assists. Lound provided eight kills and seven blocks, while Wolters dished out 47 assists to go with five blocks. Both Aiken and Wolters were named to the eight-member All-Tournament Team.
Grand Valley State returns to Allendale next weekend (Sept. 20-21) when it begins GLIAC play against two tough opponents. The Lakers will face Hillsdale on Friday night and Northwood on Saturday afternoon in GVSU Fieldhouse Arena.