Four-Set Victory Places No. 4 Grand Valley State in GLIAC Finals
ALLENDALE, Mich. - No. 4 Grand Valley State cruised through the final two sets against Wayne State on Saturday (Nov. 15) to claim a 3-1 victory (28-26, 24-26, 25-18, 25-16) and advance to the GLIAC Finals on Sunday afternoon. The Lakers improved to 28-3 on the year and with their 32nd consecutive home victory, GVSU will face Saginaw Valley State at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday for the GLIAC Tournament Championship.
Earlier in the season, Grand Valley State won a four-set decision at Wayne State, with the Warriors winning the first set before GVSU won the final three sets in the match. On Saturday in the GLIAC Semifinals, it looked as if WSU would again steal the opening set from the Lakers.
Grand Valley State jumped out to an 8-3 lead with the help of three service aces from senior middle blocker Danielle Alexander. The Lakers would extend the lead to 15-9 and looked like they were in control before Wayne State mounted a comeback. GVSU was up 18-11 before the Warriors scored seven of the set's next nine points to make the score 20-18. WSU would then tie the set at 23-23 and 24-24. The Warriors actually had set point at 25-24 but an Alexander kill tied the score at 25-25. Three points later and GVSU leading 27-26, junior Kaity Gormley notched a kill to end the set in the Lakers' favor.
The second set went into extra points as well, as the teams were within a few points of each other the entire frame. After trailing 18-16, GVSU rallied to score the next four points on the serving of junior libero Meredith Young. Wayne State would bounce back and tie the match at 22-22 and again at 24-24. A pair of Laker attack errors would end the set and tie the match at one set apiece.
Wayne State actually jumped out to a 12-8 advantage and looked in control of the third set before GVSU regained momentum. With senior setter Jamie Ashmore serving, the Lakers scored the next nine points and pushed out to a 17-12 lead. The teams traded points before a Gormley kill again ended the set. GVSU's defense was strong in the final two sets, as the Warriors hit -.023 in the third set, with 11 attack errors.
Grand Valley State quickly jumped ahead in the fourth set, 8-3, before Wayne State cut the lead to 12-10. GVSU led 15-11 when Alexander stepped behind the line to serve. The Lakers scored the next six points, including a service ace from Alexander, to push out to a 21-11 advantage. Wayne State would score four late points, but a Warrior attack error ended the match.
While GVSU hit just .189, the Lakers held Wayne State to a .109 hitting percentage. Defensively, Grand Valley State totaled 22 block assists for 13.0 total team blocks and added 88 digs, including a match-high 21 digs from senior Lauren Reber.
Alexander recorded a team-best 16 kills, five block assists, four digs, and a match-best four service aces. Sophomore Rebeccah Rapin notched 14 kills, five block assists, and a solo block.
Junior Whitney Tremain totaled nine kills and five block assists, while Reber added six kills and was the fourth Laker with five block assists. Ashmore dished out 44 assists and totaled 16 digs and a pair of service aces. Young contributed 16 digs for the Lakers' defense.
In between the two semifinal matches, the GLIAC presented its all-conference awards. For the third time in her career, head coach Deanne Scanlon was named the GLIAC Coach of the Year. Alexander was named the league's Player of the Year and is the first GVSU player to earn the award since 2003. Alexander, Ashmore, and Rapin were named to the All-GLIAC First Team and Reber was a second team selection. Junior Katey Crichton was named as an all-conference honorable mention choice.
Article courtesy of Grand Valley State athletics.