Laker Volleyball Split Matches at 2023 Midwest Crossover

HAMMOND, Ind. – The Lake Superior State (LSSU) volleyball team (6-14, 3-6 GLIAC) split a pair of contests as they fell in a thrilling five-set match to the Southwest Baptist Bearcats (10-10, 1-5 GLVC) before defeating the Lake Erie Storm (3-18, 2-8 G-MAC) by a score of 3-1 in the final day of the Midwest Crossover on Saturday.

Southwest Baptist

The Lakers came out of the gate strong, serving up heat with Ally Lasley (Birch Run, Mich.) and Sydney Briney (St. Joseph, Mich.) combining for three aces to open the set on a 5-1 run. The Bearcats would fight back to tie up the score at 10-10, but the Lakers responded with a 9-2 scoring spurt that featured multiple kills from both Mariana Velasque (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) and true freshman Morgan Deming (Boyne City, Mich.). Both teams would trade multiple points, but a kill from Velasque ended the set at 25-18 to give LSSU a 1-0 lead. 

The Bearcats took the early lead in the second set, but the Lakers would go back in front with a 9-0 run that saw four more aces from Lasley. LSSU would not give up their advantage for the remainder of the set, and a kill from Velasque ended it at 25-19.

Southwest Baptist claimed the early lead to open the third set, but kills from Hannah Callaway (Portage, Mich.) and Emilee McDaniel (Manistique, Mich.) tied up the score at 7-7. However, the Bearcats were able to push back ahead, and despite a strong rally attempt that saw the Lakers go on a 7-2 scoring spurt late, Southwest Baptist would ultimately take the set by a score of 25-20.

Both teams went back-and-forth early in the fourth set, but a kill from Valeriya Varnakova (Ufa, Russia) would push her team ahead by three. Both teams continued to battle their way to a 24-24 stalemate, but the Bearcats were able to come away with the two points they needed to force a fifth set.

Both teams would battle for a majority of the decisive fifth set. However, Southwest Baptist was able to take control late, closing out the set and the match with a 5-1 run to complete the comeback and break the Lakers’ hearts.

Despite the loss, Velasque had a strong outing with 23 kills while also recording 14 digs and five block assists defensively, and McDaniel also added double-digit kills with 14 and a game-high eight block assists. Emily Kalinowski (South Lyon, Mich.) finished with 47 assists and 14 digs, and Lasley led all players with 18 digs and eight service aces.

Lake Erie

The Storm were able to press their attack early and often in the first set, but the Lakers continued to hang around, using back-to-back kills from Velasque to pull back within three. However, Lake Erie would ultimately take the opening set by a score of 25-20.

The Lakers were able to open the second set with a 5-2 lead with four of the first five LSSU points resulting from kills from Velasque. The Storm came back to take a slim lead, but the Lakers would use runs of 5-0 and 6-0 to go up by seven, continuing to press the attack before taking the set 25-18 to tie up the match.

LSSU would once again hit the ground running in the third set with a 6-2 lead. The Storm rallied back to tie the set at 8-8, but the Lakers answered in force with a 10-0 run that featured three-straight kills from Deming. The Lakers would hold onto their lead, and Jordyn Haller (Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.) put the set away at a score of 25-16.

The Storm gained the early lead, but a kill from freshman Shea Berisoff (Kelowna, B.C.) tied up the score at 10-10. Lake Erie pushed ahead again, but the Lakers once again responded, this time in the form of an 8-2 run to retake the lead. Both teams battled their way to a score of 24-24, but the Lakers came away with a pair of clutch points to close out the set and the match by respective scores of 26-24 and 3-1.

Velasque had another strong showing offensively with 20 kills while McDaniel and Deming added 14 and 13 of their own, respectively. Meanwhile, Kalinowski finished with another double-double with 49 assists and 13 digs while Lasley led all players with 18 digs.

The Lakers return to action on Friday, Oct. 20 when they travel to take on Grand Valley with the first serve scheduled for 6 p.m.

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