Sept. 20, 2013
Allendale, Mich. - After a perfect 4-0 weekend at the Oredigger Classic in Golden, Colo., #21 Grand Valley State returns home to open up GLIAC play against a pair of tough opponents. The Lakers will face Hillsdale on Friday night (Sept. 20) and take on Northwood on Saturday afternoon (Sept. 21).
The Lakers won all four matches last weekend, which featured big victories over #6 Washburn (five sets) and #22 Central Washington (four sets). In the season's opening two weeks, Grand Valley State has defeated three ranked opponents (the only three which it has faced thus far), including #6 Southwest Minnesota State on Sept. 7 in Allendale.
GVSU also jumped back into the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Top-25 poll for the first time since Sept. 19, 2011. The Lakers' #21 ranking is the highest for any GLIAC team.
In returning to the GVSU Fieldhouse Arena, Grand Valley State has a tough schedule ahead this weekend against two of the top league opponents. On Friday night at 7:00 p.m., the Lakers and Hillsdale meet for the first time in 2013 after squaring off four times in 2012. The teams split a pair of 3-1 decisions in the regular season before GVSU eliminated Hillsdale from the GLIAC Tournament. In the NCAA Tournament, however, the Chargers knocked off Grand Valley State to even the season series.
Hillsdale enters the match with a 3-5 record; the Chargers started 0-4 at the competitive Concordia-St. Paul Tournament, but have won three of their last four contests. HC and the Lakers were chosen to finish in a tie for third place in the North Division of the GLIAC Preseason Coaches' Poll.
On Saturday at 4:00 p.m., Northwood comes to Allendale as the preseason pick to win the GLIAC North Division, as the Timberwolves returning the reigning GLIAC Player of the Year (Juliia Pakhomenko). NU carries a 5-3 overall record into its match at Ferris State on Friday night. The Timberwolves have won three matches in a row after starting the season with a 2-3 mark. Last season, Northwood defeated GVSU three times, including a 3-1 score in the GLIAC Tournament championship.
Grand Valley State features the reigning GLIAC North Division Player of the Week in junior setter Kaitlyn Wolters, who totaled 182 assists, 48 digs, and 16 kills and earned All-Tournament Team honors last weekend. Wolters ranks sixth in the GLIAC with 9.73 assists per set. Junior libero Christina Canepa is fourth in the league with 128 digs and eighth with 4.13 digs per set.
Outside hitter Abby Aiken, also named to the All-Tournament Team last weekend, ranks fourth in the conference with 106 kills, while her 3.31 putaways per set is good for ninth-best. After a strong weekend, sophomore middle blocker Kaleigh Lound is fourth with 1.12 blocks per set, while classmate Betsy Ronda's 0.55 aces per set is third-most in the league.
Friday night's match versus Hillsdale will be broadcast live on XFinity 900, as well as on gvsulakers.com. Click the links at the top of this page to watch the matches or follow the live stats of both contests.