No. 7 Grand Valley State Falls in Five-Set Thriller to No. 15 Augustana


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DENVER, Colo. - No. 7 Grand Valley State dropped a five-set thriller to No. 15 Augustana (S.D.) in the opening match of the Regis Premier Challenge in Denver, Colo. on Friday afternoon. The Lakers and Vikings alternated wins in each set before Augustana pulled off a 3-2 victory (25-20, 13-25, 25-16, 20-25, 17-15).

With the loss, GVSU falls to 3-2 on the season. Augustana College is unbeaten at 5-0. This is the second five-set match for the Lakers in 2008; at last weekend's Missouri S&T "Middle of Everywhere" Classic, Grand Valley State outlasted North Alabama, 3-2.

In the opening set, GVSU took the early 1-0 lead. That would be the only time in the match the score would be in the Lakers' favor. After Grand Valley State tied the set at 5-5, the Vikings went on a 12-5 run to push ahead 17-10 and closed off the set with a win.

Set two was entirely different for the Lakers. Grand Valley State opened up an 8-2 lead and behind the serving of sophomore Janelle Beaudry, the Lakers led 15-4 midway through the set. Behind 14 kills, three errors, and a .355 attack percentage, GVSU tied the match at one set apiece. Augustana committed more errors (nine) than kills (seven) in the second set for a -.071 hitting percentage.

The third set saw the Vikings push ahead 6-5 and go on an 11-5 run to lead 17-10. The teams traded points the rest of the set, as AC took a 25-16 win. Augustana used 16 kills and just four errors (a .387 attack clip) to roll to victory.

Neither team could gain a clear advantage in the fourth set, although the Lakers led the hotly-contested set the entire way. Grand Valley State's biggest lead for most of the match was four points at 21-17. Junior Meredith Young recorded a service ace for the set's final point, pushing the match to a pivotal fifth set. GVSU made few mistakes in the fourth set victory, totaling 19 kills and just three errors for a match-high .410 hitting percentage.

Set five started off poorly for the Lakers, as they trailed 7-3 in the early going. Strong serving from Beaudry and Young pulled GVSU back into the match and consecutive kills from senior Danielle Alexander gave the Lakers a 10-8 lead. The Vikings battled back to tie the set at 10-10, but Grand Valley State responded with the next three points, including a kill and a service ace from senior Jamie Ashmore.

The Lakers served for match point twice at 14-13 and 15-14, but Augustana would not fold. After tying the set at 15-15, the Vikings scored the final two points of the set and the match.

Grand Valley State hit relatively well, with 66 kills and a .248 attack percentage. Augustana hit below .300 in just one set, ending up with a .250 hitting clip and 58 finishers. While the Lakers had the match's only three service aces, they committed 18 service errors. AC had six miscues on serves. Both teams had 9.0 total blocks and the Vikings had two more digs than GVSU, 56 to 54.

Senior Lauren Reber led the way offensively with 17 kills, a .308 percentage, and 10 digs. Alexander totaled 14 kills, hit .310, and had four block assists. Sophomore Rebeccah Rapin and junior Whitney Tremain each added 10 kills. Tremain hit .500 for the match, committing just one attack error.

This was the third match of the season (in only five matches) that GVSU played a ranked opponent. Last weekend, the Lakers dropped a three-set match to #3 Truman State and swept #17 Pittsburg State the following day. Grand Valley State was 5-3 in five-set matches in 2007.

GVSU is now 0-2 against Augustana in the all-time series. The Lakers had never faced the Vikings under head coach Deanne Scanlon.

Article courtesy of Grand Valley State athletics.

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