Laker Volleyball Earns 3-1 Victory on the Road Against Saginaw Valley

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – The Lake Superior State volleyball program (4-20, 3-10 GLIAC) picked up a hard-fought 3-1 victory on the road against the Cardinals of Saginaw Valley State (10-14, 5-8 GLIAC) on Saturday, marking the first time that the program has won consecutive matches since 2019.

The Lakers took an early lead with a 4-1 run behind kills from Mariana Velasque (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) and Taylor Fleming (Rogers City, Mich.). The Cardinals would come back to tie the score at 11-11, but Emilee McDaniel (Manistique, Mich.) was able to put her team back up by two points. Both teams would go back and forth on their way to a 21-21 stalemate with neither side able to gain much ground. The Cardinals were able to fend off a set point to tie the game at 24-24, but kills from Velasque and Maggie Morris (Schoolcraft, Mich.) put the set away by a score of 26-24 to give the Lakers the early advantage.

Both teams battled early in the second set on their way toward a 9-9 tie, but runs of 3-0 and 4-0 would allow the Lakers to pull ahead. The Cardinals were able to slowly cut down the lead until both teams found themselves knotted up at 23-23, but the Lakers were once again able to settle down and secure the two points they needed to take the set.

The third set would be very competitive early, resulting in the score being tied at 7-7, but this time, it was the Cardinals that would use a 7-1 run to pull out ahead. The Lakers were able to go on a 5-1 run of their own behind multiple kills from Velasque to cut the lead back down to two points, and they would follow that up with a 4-1 run that featured a kill from Olivia Boutorwick (Macomb, Mich.) to get back to within one. The Cardinals were able to extend their lead, but the Lakers would go on another small run to tie the set at 22-22. However, Saginaw Valley was able to hold on to take the third set by a score of 25-23 to extend the match.

The Lakers would assert themselves early in the fourth set as a kill from Valeriya Varnakova (Ufa, Russia) helped her team to an early 6-1 run to take a 7-4 lead. The Cardinals would cut down the lead on multiple occasions, but the Lakers would always have an answer with runs of 4-0 and 6-1, extending their lead to as many as six points. Saginaw Valley would try to rally, but kills from Morris and Velasque ended the set at 25-19 and secured their second-straight victory.

Velasque led the way offensively with 14 kills, and Fleming was right behind her with 13 of her own. Emily Kalinowski (South Lyon, Mich.) earned 42 assists on the night, and Ally Lasley (Birch Run, Mich.), Jordyn Haller (Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.), and Sydney Briney (St. Joseph, Mich.) all picked up double-digit digs on the defensive end. 

The Lakers return to action on Monday, Oct. 24 when they travel to face Ferris State with the first serve scheduled for 12 p.m.

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