Memorable Ferris State Volleyball Campaign Comes To An End In Regional Semifinals

Memorable Ferris State Volleyball Campaign Comes To An End In Regional Semifinals

Big Rapids, Mich. - The nationally 17th-ranked Ferris State University women's volleyball team saw its memorable campaign come to an end on Friday (Nov. 21) night as the Bulldogs fell to rival Grand Valley State 3-0 in the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Semifinals held in Allendale.

The Bulldogs, who were making the school's fourth-straight and 19th overall NCAA Tournament appearance, finished the 2014 campaign with a 24-6 overall record. FSU also won a share of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Regular-Season Championship and claimed the school's second-ever GLIAC Tournament title.

The Bulldogs and the 18th-ranked Lakers met for the fourth time this season and GVSU earned the season split by avenging a pair of recent setbacks to FSU, including a 3-1 decision only five days earlier in the league tournament title match also held at the GVSU Fieldhouse Arena.

In Friday's regional semifinals, the Lakers jumped in front early and won the first set 25-22. The Bulldogs responded and held a lead late in the second set before the Lakers rallied back to earn the win 26-24 in extra points. The third frame was again back and fourth before GVSU prevailed 25-23 to move into Saturday's regional championship match.

Ferris State, which advanced to at least the regional semifinals for the fourth-straight year, came up short in its quest to repeat as the Midwest Regional Champion as FSU had previously rallied for a 3-2 win over the Lakers in Allendale a year ago to reach the Division II Elite Eight.

With the setback, the Bulldogs saw the careers of two seniors end in four-time all-conference honoree Courtney Rehm and fellow senior middle hitter Claire Grawburg. Together, they helped FSU win a pair of league titles and make four NCAA appearances in their collegiate careers.

Ferris State hit only .120 for the night on the attack with 32 kills and 16 errors in 133 total attempts. Meanwhile, the Lakers posted a .214 attack figure with 45 kills and 17 errors on 131 attacks.

Junior outside hitter Megan Vander Meer paced FSU with eight kills in the outing while Rehm and junior middle hitter Caroline Heitzman added seven each. The Bulldogs also received 27 assists from sophomore setter Stephanie Sikorski in the setback.

Ferris State compiled 67 digs overall with junior Alexis Huntey totaling a team-best 15 on the night. Sikorski added 14 while both Rehm and Vander Meer had 10 to go with nine from junior libero Danielle Dowd.

Abby Aiken paced the Lakers with a match-high 13 kills while the trio of Betsy Ronda, Kaitlyn Wolters and Ally Simmons combined for 18 kills as each had six in the match. Wolters totaled 34 assists.

GVSU also received 20 digs from Aiken along with 19 from libero Christina Canepa and 16 by Ronda.

Overall, Grand Valley State held a 79-67 edge in total digs and the Lakers had both four solo blocks and four assists. FSU finished with a single solo block and six assists to go with four service aces and eight service errors. GVSU netted two aces and 12 miscues from the service line.

The loss snapped an 11-match win streak for Ferris State dating back to late October.
With the win, Grand Valley State advanced to the regional final and will host fourth-seeded Rockhurst (Mo.) on Saturday at 7 p.m. (ET).

This year marked the 13th time in 19 seasons under head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm in which FSU has claimed at least 20 victories in a campaign. The Bulldogs have also reached the NCAA-II Tournament 10 times and made 17 consecutive GLIAC Tournament appearances in the stretch.