HOUGHTON, Mich. - The Lake Superior State University women's volleyball team couldn't overcome a 2-0 deficit to St. Cloud (Minn.) State in this Saturday's (Sept. 9) 2017 Keweenaw Classic finale as the Lakers were dealt a 3-1 loss (19-25, 20-25, 25-17, 27-29) at Michigan Tech's Student Development Complex Gymnasium in Houghton, Mich.
The setback drops Lake Superior State record this season to 1-5 overall while the win for St. Cloud State ended a two-game losing skid as the Huskies are now 7-2 overall on the 2017 campaign.
St. Cloud State quickly put the Lakers at a disadvantage by winning the opening two sets, 25-19 and 25-20, before LSSU won the third to extend the non-conference match to a fourth set. The Huskies never trailed in the first set although the Lakers managed to stay within striking distance despite being outhit .234 to .119.
Four ties were featured in the opening part of the second set before SCSU went on a 7-1 scoring run to lead 15-9. However, LSSU managed to cut its deficit to a point (19-18) only to have the Huskies score the next three points to hold a 22-18 advantage which was too much for Lake State to overcome.
The third set went in favor of Lake Superior State as the Lakers recorded a .163 attack percentage to SCSU's .000 hitting success rate. The set featured three ties although LSSU was never at a deficit. Lake State would post a 13-5 scoring run to snap an six-all tie and take a 19-11 lead. The closet the Huskies would get would be seven points at 19-12 as the Lakers would then score four of the next five points to lead 23-12 and a kill by senior outside hitter Jen Marren sealed the outcome.
In set four, the two teams battled one another as 12 ties would illustrate. LSSU managed to pull out in front in the last half of the set to take a four-point lead at 21-17 before the Huskies erased the deficit with a 6-2 scoring spurt to knot the set at 23-apiece. A kill by sophomore outside hitter Amanda Reid gave LSSU a short-lived 26-25 edge, which SCSU quickly overcame with two straight points. Tied at 27-all, the Huskies would tally back-to-back kills to ice both the set and match.
Senior outside hitter Brooke Williams' 17 kills was the primary highlight of the Lakers' offense. Jen Marren supplied eights kills to go with a .263 hitting percentage and Amanda Reid hammered seven kills. Senior setter Madison Castle garnered 25 assists and junior setter Lauren Lukasik supplied 21 assists for the Lakers. SCSU setter Kayla Crane distributed a match-leading 32 assists and teammate Maddy Torve chipped in with 23 assists. For the match, SCSU hit for a .146 attack percentage while Lake Superior State produced a .126 hitting efficiency.
Senior libero Paige Gotham spearheaded the LSSU defense with 28 digs to lead four Lakers with double-figure digs. Amanda Reid dug up 20 balls, Lauren Lukasik contributed 16, and senior libero-defensive specialist Justice Kjolhede supplied 10 as Lake State collected 95 team digs.
Senior middle blocker Elizabeth Ballor helped Lake Superior State at the net with three block assists as the Lakers chalked up 10 block assists to go with one block solo. St. Cloud State featured two individuals with double-figure kills totals led by Nicole Miller and Becca Gruber with 17 and 13 kills, respectively.
Lake Superior State will open Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) play this upcoming Friday, Sept. 15, on the road versus Michigan Tech in Houghton, Mich. First serve is set for 5 p.m. (EDT) at MTU's Student Development Gymnasium. LSSU wraps up its conference-opening road trip on Saturday, Sept. 16, when the Lakers square off against Northern Michigan in a 3 p.m. (EDT) contest at NMU's Vandament Arena in Marquette, Mich.