Grand Valley State 3, Dowling 1Dec. 1, 2005

Grand Valley State advances to the semifinals of the NCAA Division II National Championships for the fourth time in five years with a 3-1 (30-21, 27-30, 30-24, 30-25) win over Dowling College. The Lakers record their eighth 30+ win season in school history, improving to 30-6. GVSU will face Tampa on Friday, Dec. 2 at 5:00 p.m. CT.

Grand Valley State came out strong in game one, taking a 5-0 lead before a GVSU service error. The Golden Lions came back, however, trailing just by two, 10-8, before the Lakers went a run. GVSU went on a 17-4 run to take a 27-12 lead. Grand Valley had its first match point on a Dowling service error to go ahead 29-16. The Golden Lions came back to score the next five points to make the game 29-21 when the Lakers sealed the game one victory on a service error by Dowling.

Both teams struggling with hitting in game one as GVSU hit .119 and Dowling tallied a .024 hitting percentage. Megan Helsen led all hitters with five kills, while Tracy Kirk added four in game one.

Grand Valley scored the first point in the second game, but then trailed for most of the game. The Lakers went down by five early, trailing 10-5. Dowling went on a 7-4 run to take a 17-9 lead, but GVSU scored seven out of the next nine points to just trail by three, 16-19. Dowling went back up by five, taking a 24-19 lead, but the Lakers scored three straight points to force the Golden Lions to take timeout as they cut the lead to two points (22-24). Dowling went back up by three points as they took a 27-24 lead, but GVSU cut the lead to one (27-26) on two Laker points. The Golden Lions recorded the next two points to bring the score to game point at 26-29. GVSU scored one point, but couldn't hold off Dowling as they took game two, 30-27.

Once again, both teams struggled with their hitting percentage, as the Lakers hit just .090 in game two and tallied 10 errors. Dowling College hit .085 and had seven errors and recorded just one more kill than the Lakers.

Dowling scored the first point of game three and went ahead 2-0 before the Lakers tied the match at 2-2. The Lakers went on a 9-4 run to take an 11-6 lead, but the Golden Lions hung around and went on a 5-1 run to cut the lead to one point. GVSU scored the next four points to go up 16-12. The Lakers then took a 19-14 lead, but once again Dowling cut the lead, scoring the next three points to trail 19-17 and force the Lakers to take a timeout. GVSU came out of the timeout strong and scored the next four points, taking a 23-17 lead, forcing the Golden Lions to take a time out of their own. Dowling scored the next three out of four points to trail 24-20, but GVSU didn't led the Golden Lions get much closer as they then scored the next six out of ten points to take game two, 30-24.

Grand Valley hit .171 in game three, recording 12 kills and five errors, while Dowling posted 13 kills and 13 errors for a .000 hitting percentage.

The Lakers started off game four with an ace by Jamie Ashmore and jumped out to an early 7-3 lead. The Golden Lions fought back once again tying the game at 8-8. The two team teams battled back and forth, but GVSU never gave up the lead. The Lakers led by as many as three (18-15) and then jumped out to its biggest lead of the game 26-21. Grand Valley scored the next three out of five points to go to match point at 29-23. Grand Valley State closed out the game and match with a kill by Megan Helsen to take game four, 30-25.

Grand Valley State hit .125 in the match, while Dowling recorded a .064 attack percentage. The Lakers tallied eight service aces and nine team blocks. GVSU was led by senior middle blocker Tracy Kirk who tallied a match-high 16 kills, while adding one solo and four assisted blocks. Junior outside hitter Megan Helsen recorded 12 kills and 13 digs and junior middle blocker Meghan Moore added six kills and four assisted blocks.

Sophomore libero Alyson Riley posted 22 digs and two service aces, while senior outside hitter Tina Tromblay recorded 14 digs, seven kills, three service aces, and three assisted blocks. Redshirt freshman Jamie Ashmore tallied 34 assists for GVSU.

"It is always tough being the first match of the weekend and the first match of the day," said head coach Deanne Scanlon. "We gutted it out. We didn't win the way we normally do, but we found a way to win."

-- Courtesy GVSU