No. 2 GVSU Holds Off Northern Michigan to Win Five-Set Marathon
MARQUETTE, Mich. - Bouncing back from its' first defeat in over two months, the No. 2 Grand Valley State Lakers closed out the regular season with a thrilling 3-2 victory at Northern Michigan on Saturday afternoon (Nov. 8) in Marquette, Mich. GVSU had its' 22-match winning streak snapped on Friday night in a four-set loss to Michigan Tech, but rebounded with a five-set win over NMU to improve to 26-3 overall and 15-1 in the GLIAC.
The Lakers held off Northern Michigan, 3-2, (22-25, 31-29, 25-17, 19-25, 15-12) in the second five-set match the teams have played this season. On Sept. 20 at Fieldhouse Arena, the Wildcats won the opening two sets before Grand Valley State closed out the match by winning the final three sets.
GVSU is now 5-1 in five-set matches, having won its last four such contests. With the loss, Northern Michigan falls to 19-10 overall, 11-5 in league play.
In the opening set on Saturday, Grand Valley State jumped out to a quick 12-4 advantage before NMU started to mount a comeback. The set was tied at 17-17 when the Wildcats went on an 8-5 run to open the match with a 1-0 lead. Northern Michigan hit .306 in the opening set, but the Lakers' defense would step up throughout the rest of the match.
The second set was one for the ages, as it featured 16 tie scores and eight lead changes. NMU lead 28-27 and was serving for set point, but a kill from senior Lauren Reber tied the score at 28-28. Two points later with a 29-29 tie, GVSU received a kill from senior Danielle Alexander and a Wildcat attack error to complete a wild 31-29 win. The Lakers hit .409 in the second set, totaling 22 kills and only four attack errors.
Somehow, Grand Valley State was even better in the third set. The Lakers led 15-10 early and extended that advantage to 22-15 before closing the set with three of the next five points. GVSU hit a jaw-dropping .739 in the third set, recording 17 kills without an attack error to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
Northern Michigan rallied to take the fourth set, in what was largely a one-sided affair. NMU jumped to an 11-6 lead and pushed the advantage to 18-10. GVSU would make a slight run and cut the lead to 23-19 before the Wildcats would close the set and tie the match at two sets apiece.
In the fifth and final set, GVSU used a kill from Alexander to go ahead 2-1 and would hold the lead for the rest of the match. The Lakers upped the score to 7-4, but NMU rallied to make it a one-point set at 9-8. Grand Valley State scored the next three points and the teams traded points before a kill from Reber ended the match in GVSU's favor.
Offensively, the Lakers connected at a tremendous .371 hitting percentage, with 74 kills and only 15 attack errors. It was GVSU's fourth-highest attack percentage of the season. Grand Valley State held Northern Michigan to a .238 hitting clip and forced 28 NMU attack errors.
Setter Jamie Ashmore was tremendous, nearly tallying a rare triple-double. The senior recorded a season-high 56 assists, 12 digs, and nine kills, while hitting .615 for the match. Ashmore now has 1,005 assists this season, which marks the fourth straight year she has topped 1,000 assists. She is third all-time in school history with 4,753 career assists.
Fellow seniors Alexander and Reber benefited the most from Ashmore's deft passing. Both players totaled 19 kills, while Reber connected at a .436 hitting percentage and Alexander was right behind her with a .417 attack mark. Reber added 12 digs.
Sophomore middle blocker Rebeccah Rapin totaled 12 kills, a .407 hitting clip, and a pair of block solos. Junior Whitney Tremain added eight kills and a pair of digs, while junior Meredith Young picked up a team-high 18 digs.
Grand Valley State will host a first-round GLIAC Tournament match on Wednesday (Nov. 12) at Fieldhouse Arena. The Lakers are the top seed in the conference and will host one of the league's two wild-card teams in a quarterfinal match that will begin at 7:00 p.m.
Article courtesy of Grand Valley State athletics.