Nov. 18, 2012
Midland, Mich. - The Grand Valley State volleyball team had a good start to the GLIAC Tournament championship match on Sunday afternoon (Nov. 18) before Northwood rallied back to win the final three sets and capture the league tournament title. Northwood, the host school and top seed, defeated the third-seeded Lakers 3-1 (24-26, 25-23, 25-15, 25-22).
Not only were Northwood and GVSU two of the top three seeds in the GLIAC Tournament, but both schools are ranked in the top-four of the latest Midwest Regional rankings. The Timberwolves are the second seed and Grand Valley State is fourth, according to the most recent rankings. With the win, Northwood is 26-6, while GVSU is now 25-7.
The Timberwolves tallied 51 kills and a .174 hitting percentage, while GVSU notched 42 kills and hit .082. NU owned higher totals in assists (48-38), digs (80-71), and a slight lead in blocks (13-12). Both teams served up six aces.
In an extremely tight first set, the Lakers pulled out a 26-24 victory. There were 17 ties and five lead changes in the opening stanza. The score was tied at 24-24 before outside hitter Abby Aiken put away a kill to put GVSU ahead by a point. Junior Lyndsey Holt then notched a service ace for the final point of the set, pushing the Lakers to a 1-0 lead in the match.
Northwood took a quick 4-0 lead in the second set before the Lakers responded with five straight points, including two kills from Betsy Ronda and one apiece from Eno Umoh and Megan Schroeder. Grand Valley State actually pushed out to a 21-18 advantage on a kill from Ronda. NU, however, answered with the next six points and eventually closed out the set at 25-23, evening the match at one set apiece.
The Timberwolves led the third set from start to finish, owning an 8-1 advantage and extending that to a 16-4 lead midway through the stanza. GVSU fought back with a 6-1 run to close the gap, but Northwood finished the set by winning 25-15.
Another tight set would go down to the final few points. The teams were tied 10 times in the fourth frame, with Grand Valley State rallying back from a 16-12 deficit to take a 20-19 lead on a kill and solo block from Ronda on consecutive points. With the score tied at 21-21, NU would rattle off four of the net five points to give the Timberwolves the win in the set, the match, and the tournament championship.
After a 22-kill, 21-dig outing in Saturday's semifinal match, Ronda posted another double-double on Sunday. The 2012 GLIAC Freshman of the Year, Ronda notched a team-high 16 kills and added 10 digs, two blocks, and a pair of aces. Sophomore Clair Ruhenkamp provided 36 assists, a match-high 20 digs, three block assists, and two aces. Both Ronda and Ruhenkamp were members of the GLIAC All-Tournament Team.
Umoh notched eight kills and six blocks (one solo), while junior Abby Ebels added eight kills and five blocks (one solo). Umoh's six blocks pushed her past the 500-block mark, giving her 505 total blocks in her career. She is only the third Laker to ever reach 500 career blocks. Sophomore libero Christina Canepa picked up 18 digs.
The GLIAC Player of the Year, Northwood's Juliia Pakhomenko, was named the GLIAC Tournament most valuable player after tallying 24 kills in the win.
Grand Valley State will advance to the Midwest Regional Tournament on Nov. 29-Dec. 2. The site, time, and opponents will be released in the next day. Stay tuned to gvsulakers.com for more information about the NCAA Tournament.