Nov. 23, 2008

Allendale, Mich. - For the second night in a row, #3 Grand Valley State lost the opening set before rattling off three consecutive wins to top Saginaw Valley State, 3-1 (24-26, 25-19, 25-19, 25-12) in the Midwest Regional Championship match on Sunday (Nov. 22). The Lakers improve to 32-3 and advance to the NCAA Elite Eight in St. Paul, Minn. on Dec. 4-6.

The top team in the region, GVSU travels to the Elite Eight for the seventh time in the last nine years and for the second year in a row. Last year, the Lakers dropped a five-set decision to West Texas A&M in Topeka, Kan. Grand Valley State will play Armstrong Atlantic, winners of the Southeast Region, on Dec. 4.

GVSU has won 36 consecutive home matches and went 15-0 at home this season. Although the Lakers defeated Saginaw Valley State four times, the opening set of Sunday's match was a spirited contest.

The teams were tied throughout the set several times, but Grand Valley State took a 22-19 advantage and looked in control. Saginaw Valley State then tied the set at 23-23 and took a brief one-point advantage at 24-23 before a Cardinal service error tied the score. GVSU put up a service error and then an attack error and SVSU took the first set, 26-24.

Grand Valley State jumped out to a 12-10 lead and took off from that point. The Lakers scored the next 10 points, all on the serving of senior Lauren Reber, to up the score to 22-10. While SVSU battled back and cut the lead to 24-19, a kill from junior Kaity Gormley ended the set and tied the match at 1-1.

GVSU raced to a 12-5 lead early in the third set, but the Cardinals rebounded to cut the score to 13-10. Grand Valley State would hold the lead and have a 20-19 advantage when a kill from Reber put the ball back in the hands of senior Jamie Ashmore. With a 21-19 lead and Ashmore serving, the Lakers scored the final four points of the set, including kills from senior Danielle Alexander and junior Whitney Tremain. GVSU hit .375 in the third set, including 15 kills and just three errors.

Looking to close out the match, Grand Valley State jumped ahead 8-2 in the early part of the fourth set. The Lakers never let up, extending the lead to 16-5 with strong serving from junior Katey Crichton. Senior Megan Walling served the final point of the match, with GVSU receiving block assists from Tremain and sophomore Rebeccah Rapin to make the score 25-12.

The Lakers totaled a .279 hitting percentage for the match, including 58 kills. GVSU also added 82 digs and 20 block assists, while forcing 25 SVSU attack errors.

Leading the way offensively was Reber, who totaled team-highs of 15 kills and 23 digs. She connected at a .406 attack clip and added four block assists. Tremain hit .391 for the match and added 12 kills and four block assists, as well. Alexander was the third Laker in double-figures with 10 kills, five digs, five block assists, and three assists.

Ashmore paced the offens with 49 assists, 11 digs, four kills, and three block assists. Crichton supplied 19 digs and eight kills, while junior Meredith Young was the fourth Laker in double-digits with 13 digs.

After the conclusion of the match, the Midwest Regional All-Tournament Team was announced. Tremain was named the tournament's most valuable player, while Ashmore, Alexander, and Reber were also named to the 12-member team.