Grand Valley State 3, Tampa 2

Dec. 2, 2005

Grand Valley State advanced to its first-ever NCAA Division II Volleyball National Championship match with a 3-2 (19-30, 30-19, 30-26, 28-30, 15-10) win over #3 Tampa on Friday night. Grand Valley will play the winner of the Cal State L.A. vs. host school Nebraska Kearney winner on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 7:00 p.m. CT. Fans can follow the match on GVSU improves to 31-6 overall. The Lakers had made its fourth semifinal appearance in five years.

Grand Valley State started off the match winning the first point of game one on a kill by Megan Helsen. Tampa came back strong and with back-to-back aces and a Laker error, the Spartans took a 6-2 lead. GVSU cut the lead to one, 8-7, on another kill by Helsen. The two teams battled back and forth, but Tampa held on to their lead. GVSU cut the lead to two at 12-10, but the Spartans scored the next four out of six points to take a 16-12 lead and force the Lakers to take a timeout. Tampa came out of the timeout and scored the next three out of four points to take a six point lead (19-13) before a kill by Lauren Hanson stopped the run. The Spartans went on another run and took their largest lead of the game, eight points (22-14). GVSU battled back, but was unable to overcome the deficit. The Spartans scored the final six points to seal game one, 30-19.

The Lakers hit -.027 in game one, while the Spartans hit .325. GVSU tallied 10 kills, while recording 11 errors and Tampa posted 16 kills and just three errors.

GVSU got off to a 2-0 lead in game two, but Tampa came back to tie the score at 4-4 early in the game. The teams went back and forth until the Lakers took their largest lead of the game, four points, increasing the score to 13-9. Grand Valley scored the next five out of six points to take an 18-10 lead. GVSU increased their lead to ten at 22-12 and maintained their lead throughout the game. The Lakers tallied their first game point at 29-19 and sealed game two, 30-19, on a kill by Tina Tromblay.

In game two, the Lakers hit .179, while the Spartans hit just .023. GVSU recorded just five errors, while Tampa committed nine. Megan Helsen posted six kills in game two, while Tina Tromblay added four.

Grand Valley recorded the first point of game three on a block by Megan Helsen and Tracy Kirk. GVSU jumped out to a 6-2 lead and kept the lead throughout most of the first part of the game. Tampa kept chipping away at the Lakers lead, but GVSU was able to go up by four points, 15-11. Grand Valley increased their lead to six on an error by the Spartans and forced them to use a timeout. The Spartans came out of the timeout scoring the next four points, cutting the Lakers lead to two, 19-17. Tampa continued to battled back despite a GVSU run and forced a Laker timeout after recording a kill to make the score 21-20. A Spartan kill coupled with a GVSU error gave Tampa their first lead of the match, 22-21. The two teams battled back and forth, each taking leads to only tie the game again. GVSU recorded back-to-back points to take a 27-25 lead, forcing the Spartans to take a timeout. The Lakers recorded their first game point on a block by Tina Tromblay to make the score, 29-26. Helsen recorded an ace to seal the game, 30-26.

GVSU hit .211 in game three, while the Spartans hit just .125, recording 10 errors.

The Spartans took the first point of game four and the two teams swapped points, tying the game at 2-2. Tampa then went on a 7-1 run to take a 9-3 lead. The Spartans took their largest lead, 14-7, but GVSU cut the lead to four, 15-11, on a block by Tracy Kirk and Tina Tromblay. Tampa went up by six points, but once again the Lakers battled back to cut the lead to two (18-16) on a block by Meghan Moore. Grand Valley tied the match at 19-19 on a long rally that resulted in a Spartan error. However, Tampa scored the next six out of nine points to take a 25-22 lead and force GVSU to use a timeout. The teams swapped points again until the Lakers scored four straight to cut the lead to 27-26 and force the Spartans to take a timeout of their own. Both teams scored two points each to give Tampa game point at 29-28. A block by the Spartans gave them the 30-28 win to force a game five, marking just the fifth time this season the Lakers have been forced into a five-game match.

Grand Valley posted a .130 hitting percentage in game four as Tampa hit .203. Megan Helsen added four kills, while Meghan Moore posted seven kills in game four.

The Lakers took the first point of game five and jumped out to an early 5-2 lead on a powerful kill by Meghan Moore. GVSU added the next two points on a Spartan error and a block by Moore and Cortney Lokker to increase their lead to 7-2 and force a Tampa timeout. Grand Valley held an 8-4 lead as the two teams switched sides in the fifth game. GVSU jumped out to a 10-6 lead once again forcing the Spartans to take their final timeout. The two teams continued to battle back and forth, before GVSU had its first game and match point, holding a 14-10 lead. The Lakers sealed the victory and its first-ever trip to the National Championships on a kill by Tracy Kirk to win game five, 15-10.

Leading the way for the Lakers was junior outside hitter Megan Helsen who tallied 18 kills, 12 digs, and four assisted blocks. Junior middle blocker Meghan Moore posted 16 kills and four assisted blocks, while senior middle blocker Tracy Kirk added 10 kills, four digs, and eight assisted blocks. Sophomore libero Alyson Riley recorded 23 digs and redshirt freshman Jamie Ashmore added 22 digs and 40 assists.

"I was just in awe of our team," said head coach Deanne Scanlon. "Tampa is an amazing team and it took everything in our power to stay in this match. They gave us everything we could handle."

"Before game five I told the girls to look around, trust each other, and do their best, so when we walked off the court, win or lose, we knew we gave it our best," added Scanlon.

"We weren't worried," commented senior Tracy Kirk on losing game one, 30-19. "We knew we had to pick it up and had nothing to hold back. Everyone needed to step up individually and we did."

-- Courtesy Grand Valley State