Big Rapids, Mich. - The nationally 17th-ranked Ferris State University volleyball team advanced to the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional semifinals for the fourth-straight year as the Bulldogs beat the Lewis Flyers 3-1 in regional quarterfinal-round play on Thursday (Nov. 20) evening at the Grand Valley State Fieldhouse Arena in Allendale.
The second-seeded Bulldogs won the opening set 25-19 against the seventh-seeded Flyers before Lewis came back to capture a 25-21 triumph in the second frame. FSU then closed the victory with 25-21 and 25-14 wins in the third and fourth set, respectively, to advance to the semifinals.
Ferris State, which is making its fourth-straight and 19th overall NCAA Tournament appearance, will square off against third-seeded host Grand Valley State on Friday (Nov. 21) evening in the second semifinal match starting at 7:30 p.m. (ET) in Allendale. The Lakers swept Missouri S&T in round one.
The Bulldogs again utilized a balanced lineup in the win over the Flyers with senior outside hitter Courtney Rehm leading the charge with a match-high 15 kills and 20 digs. Junior middle hitter Caroline Heitzman added 14 kills with junior outside hitter Megan Vander Meer contributing 11 kills in the victory.
Ferris State also received 21 digs from junior libero Danielle Dowd to go with 20 by Rehm, 15 from junior hitter Alexis Huntey along with 13 by sophomore setter Stephanie Sikorski and 11 from Vander Meer. Sikorski also had 53 assists for the Bulldogs.
The win was the 11th-straight for the Bulldogs, who moved to 24-5 overall this season. The Flyers had their season end with a 22-8 mark after falling to the Bulldogs for the third-straight year in the opening round of the regional tournament.
The Bulldogs hit .276 for the match and came up with 63 kills and only 15 errors on 174 total attempts. FSU also compiled 89 digs, 60 assists, five blocks and four aces to go with six service errors.
On the Lewis side, the Flyers were paced by Aly Schneider's match-high 16 kills. Kim Vertin added 14 kills and Morgan Cebula chipped in with 12 kills. Libero Amy Choi tallied a match-best 30 digs while Leigh Barea compiled 18, Cassidy Parsons netted 12 and Vertin totaled 11 in the setback.
Overall, FSU limited Lewis to a .161 attack figure with the Flyers compiling 49 kills and 22 errors on 168 total attacks. LU finished with 86 digs, 45 assists, eight aces and three blocks in addition to five service errors.
Friday night's regional semifinal match in Allendale will be available via a live internet radio stream on the Bulldog Sports Network with Rob Bentley handling the coverage. The broadcast begins with the Meijer Pregame Show at approximately 7:15 p.m. (ET).
The matchup between the Bulldogs and the Lakers will be the second in five days on the heels of FSU's 3-1 victory at GVSU this past Sunday (Nov. 16) in the 2014 GLIAC Tournament Championship Match. Ferris State claimed the league tourney title after the two squads had shared the regular-season crown with identical 17-1 league records.
Friday night's matchup will represent the fourth meeting between the two West Michigan rivals this season and the seventh over the past two years. The Bulldogs topped the Lakers in Allendale 3-2 in last year's Midwest Regional Championship match.
The match on Friday will follow the first semifinal between top-seeded Truman State (Mo.) and fourth-seeded Rockhurst (Mo.). The two semifinal winners will then meet each other in Saturday's (Nov. 22) regional final at 7 p.m. (ET) with the winner advancing to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight.