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Grace beats Taylor in thriller

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s volleyball team impressed in its Crossroads League opener, beating Taylor 3-2 on Wednesday.

The Lady Lancers (6-3, 1-0 CL) used balanced production and an unexpected freshman contribution to upend the Trojans at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.

Freshman Lexy Oppenhuis came off the bench to lead Grace in kills, providing 14 kills including several in the decisive fifth set.

The Trojans (3-2, 0-1 CL) began the match sharply, winning 25-15 in a lopsided first set.

But Grace showed fight in the second set to even the match. The Lady Lancers trailed 18-13 but rallied with six straight points, including two aces from Tori Bontrager and two blocks from Kari Feddema and Sierra Smith. Grace narrowly pulled off the second set win 26-24.

Grace needed another rally in the third set after staring at a 14-7 deficit. Like the previous set, Bontrager had two well-timed aces to give Grace a spark, and Feddema provided a pair of kills and a block to help the hosts back into the lead. Oppenhuis ended the set with a kill, giving Grace a 25-23 win.

Taylor found revenge in the fourth, holding onto another early lead to win 25-21.

The fifth set proved to be a mismatch. Oppenhuis began the game with a kill and could not be contained. The freshman racked up six kills in the game en route to a 15-7 victory. Oppenhuis had a part in six of the final seven points for Grace, including five kills and a block assist.

Oppenhuis’s breakout contest of 14 kills came on a .310 hitting percentage to go along with two block assists.

Feddema was the other Lady Lancer in double-digit kills, producing 10 kills with five block assists.

Alexa Hill, the two-time reigning league Setter of the Week, racked up a double-double of 47 assists and 15 digs. Sara Miller led all players with 19 digs, Caylie Teel added 13 digs, and Gina Novotny chipped in with eight digs.

Bontrager finished with a well-rounded statline of 6 kills, 5 digs and 4 aces, and Marta Bleed tallied eight kills.

The Lady Lancers continue play on Sept. 6 at Marian.