Nov. 22, 2008

Courtesy of Grand Valley State

Allendale, Mich. - After losing the first set for only the eighth time all season, #3 Grand Valley State bounced back to win the final three sets and top Indianapolis, 3-1 (19-25, 25-16, 25-21, 25-23) on Saturday night (Nov. 22). The Lakers improve to 31-3 on the year and will face Saginaw Valley State in the Midwest Regional Championship on Sunday (Nov. 23) at 7:00 p.m.

GVSU, the top seed in the Midwest Region, has won 35 consecutive home matches and advances to its seventh regional championship match in school history. Indianapolis, seeded fourth, ends its season with a 29-10 record. In last year's regional championship, Lewis took the first two sets from GVSU before the Lakers won the final three sets to advance to the NCAA Elite Eight.

On Saturday, Indianapolis looked as if it might steal the opening two sets from GVSU. The teams were tied at 13-13 midway through the first set before the Greyhounds took a brief two point advantage. After Grand Valley State tied the set at 15-15, Indianapolis would not trail again in the set. The Greyhounds extended their lead to 20-16 and pushed to a 24-17 advantage before closing the set at 25-19 on a Laker service error.

Grand Valley State stole UI's momentum as it opened the second set with a 4-0 lead and pushed that advantage to 10-1. A service error by Indianapolis stopped a brief Greyhound run and made the score 13-5 in the Lakers' favor. GVSU led 20-11 and the teams traded points the rest of the set, with Grand Valley State tying the match at 1-1. The Lakers hit .412 in the second set, with a 16-kill, two-error performance.

The third set was a back-and-forth affair, with Indianapolis owning a 19-17 lead late in the set. Grand Valley State rallied to tie the score at 20-20 before UI regained the lead at 21-20. A Greyhound attack error tied the score at 21-21 and Indianapolis would not score again in the set. With senior setter Jamie Ashmore serving, the Lakers rattled off the final four points of the set, aided by a solo block from junior Whitney Tremain to end the set at 25-21. GVSU totaled a .324 attack percentage in the third set, including 13 kills and just two errors.
Both teams played well defensively in the fourth set. GVSU led early 9-5 before Indianapolis scored four straight points to tie the score at 9-9. Neither team would lead again by more than two points until late in the set. With the score tied at 18-18, the Lakers scored three straight points and extended their lead to 23-19 on a kill from senior Danielle Alexander. Ahead 24-20, the Lakers could not close out the match, as UI cut the lead to 24-23. GVSU won the match on the next point off of a service error from the Greyhounds.

Grand Valley State hit .205 for the match with 51 kills, while holding Indianapolis to a .121 attack clip. The Lakers totaled 78 digs, including 21 from junior Meredith Young, and forced 28 UI attack errors. GVSU added 20 block assists for 13.0 total team blocks.

Alexander recorded match-highs with 14 kills and seven block assists. She was joined in double-figures by Tremain, who notched 12 kills, a .375 attack percentage, four block assists, and a pair of solo blocks.

Sophomore Rebeccah Rapin added nine kills and three block assists, while senior Lauren Reber totaled 18 digs and seven kills. Ashmore dished out 44 of GVSU's 48 assists and tallied 14 digs.

The Lakers meet up with Saginaw Valley State for the fourth time this season. GVSU has won all three meetings this season, including two by 3-0 scores and one four-set victory. Saginaw Valley State outlasted Northern Kentucky, 3-2, in the other semifinal match. The winner advances to the NCAA Elite Eight on Dec. 4-6 at a site to be determined.