Nov. 19, 2010

Courtesy of GVSU Athletics

Hillsdale, Mich. -
#12 Grand Valley State defeated a tough Northern Kentucky team on Friday afternoon (Nov. 19) in the opening round of the 2010 Midwest Regional Tournament, ending the Norse's season by a 3-0 score (25-21, 26-24, 25-23). The Lakers hit .237 and recorded 11 total blocks in moving to 24-6 on the year and advanced to the regional semifinals against #11 Lewis on Saturday (Nov. 20) at 4:30 p.m.

GVSU has now won 18 of its last 19 matches this season and will face the Flyers, who defeated Missouri-St. Louis by a similar 3-0 score in the first quarterfinal on Friday. At the GLVC-GLIAC Crossover on Oct. 16, Grand Valley State and Lewis went to five sets before the Lakers pulled out a 15-13 win in the fifth set for a wild 3-2 victory. It was the only meeting of the two teams this season, while Lewis defeated GVSU by a 3-2 score at last season's Crossover Tournament.

In the opening set on Friday, GVSU jumped out to a 3-1 lead after consecutive kills from senior Rebeccah Rapin and freshman Stacey Catalano, followed by a combined block from Rapin and junior Nicole Whiddon. The block assist was Rapin's 500th career block, the second-highest total in school history. Northern Kentucky battled back and took a 13-11 lead that forced a timeout from Laker head coach Deanne Scanlon.

The Lakers responded by tying the score at 15-15 with a combined block from Rapin and Catalano, while Rapin's back-to-back kills that followed the block assist put GVSU ahead 17-15. NKU rallied to tie the score at 18-18 before Grand Valley State pushed out to a 21-19 advantage with senior Krysta Kornack totaling a kill and Whiddon and sophomore Eno Umoh notching a double block.

Northern Kentucky would get back to within 21-20 before senior Leslie Curtis and Rapin put down consecutive kills to build a 23-20 lead. Moments later, Rapin and Catalano teamed up for a combined block that ended the first set at 25-21 in the Lakers' favor. Although GVSU hit just .162 in the opening set with only 15 kills, the Lakers held Northern Kentucky to a .094 attack clip and only six putaways. Rapin tallied six kills in nine attempts for a .556 hitting percentage and added three block assists, while GVSU had five total blocks as a team in the first frame.

The second set did not start well for the Lakers, as NKU bounced back from the first set loss and put up a 7-1 lead on the Lakers to start the stanza. Grand Valley State responded by cutting the deficit to 9-8 on a nice 7-2 run that featured a kill and a solo block from Catalano and a pair of kills from Kornack. GVSU got back to within 11-10 before Northern Kentucky ran the score up to a 16-11 advantage on a pair of aces, a Laker error, and two kills.

Due to a NKU serving substitution mistake, the score was changed back to 15-12, but the Norse scored three straight points to push their advantage back up to 18-12. Rapin then totaled a solo block and a kill on consecutive points to bring the Lakers within four at 18-14. Trailing 19-14, GVSU scored three points in a row with a kill from Kornack and two Norse errors, but Northern Kentucky responded with back-to-back points of its own to lead 21-18.

From there, Umoh put down a kill and Curtis fired a kill of her own with a strong swing to bring Grand Valley State back within a point at 21-20. The Lakers tied the score at 22-22 with a Catalano kill and an NKU error, but Northern Kentucky scored two in a row to take a 24-22 advantage. Grand Valley State then responded with the final four points on a kill from Rapin, back-to-back errors from Northern Kentucky, and finally a double block from Rapin and Catalano to end the back-and-forth set at 26-24.

NKU got off to another fast start in the third set, leading 9-5 in the early portion of the frame. The Lakers mounted a quick comeback with four straight points. Rapin's kill and a double block with Rapin and Whiddon made the score 10-8, an error on Northern Kentucky cut the lead to one, and another kill from Rapin knotted the set at 10-10. The teams continued trading points with the score being tied at points 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16, 17, 18, and 19.

Northern Kentucky scored two points in a row to take a 21-19 advantage, but the Lakers responded right back with back-to-back kills from Rapin, again tying the score at 21-21. An ace from freshman libero Sacha Gill gave GVSU a brief 22-21 lead before the Norse tied the score at 22-22. To no surprise, the teams traded the next two points on each other's hitting errors, making the score tied again at 23-23. Kornack then delivered a strong kill and combined with Umoh for a double block that would end the set at 25-23 and the match at 3-0.

For the match, Grand Valley State hit .237 with 43 kills, while holding NKU to a .128 attack clip and 21 hitting errors. The Lakers raised their team hitting percentage by a .343 mark in the third set, which saw them produce 15 kills and only three attack errors. GVSU combined for 11 total team blocks and 44 digs, while Northern Kentucky had just five blocks.

Rapin led all players with a match-high 16 kills, while committing just two hitting errors. She ended with a .500 hitting percentage and seven total blocks (six assisted). Kornack also reached double-digits with 10 kills, while adding four digs, two block assists, and an ace. Catalano totaled nine digs, seven kills, and five blocks (four assisted).

Senior setter Meghan Scanlon dished out 17 assists, while adding seven digs and sophomore Olivia Kohler passed for 16 assists with five digs, an ace, and a kill. Umoh put down four kills with three block assists, while Curtis supplied seven digs and four kills.