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Grace begins year with two exciting wins

HUNTINGTON, Ind. – Grace’s volleyball team kicked off the 2018 season in style, winning a pair of five-set matches on Friday.

The Lady Lancers had to come back in both matches against Brescia and Life Pacific at the Huntington University Invitational.

In the opening match, Grace fell behind 2-1 in sets before an impressive rally. In the fourth set, Brescia pulled ahead 18-15 late and seemed poised to take the match.

A pair of kills from Kelsee Zuidema gave Grace a boost at that point, adding two aces to help turn the tide. Grace went on an 8-2 charge en route to a 25-22 victory.

In the decisive fifth set, Grace seized its opportunity. The Lady Lancers won 10 of the first 12 rallies and cruised to a 15-7 victory. Hanna Leach had a kill and a block early in the set, and Caylie Teel added a pair of kills later to keep Grace’s momentum. Zuidema ended the match with a kill on the final play.

Similar to the opening match, Grace fell behind two sets to one against Life Pacific. It was Zuidema again who sparked Grace in the fourth set, starting the game with a pair of aces.

Grace quickly jumped out to an 8-2 lead and never surrendered that lead in a 25-17 victory.

The fifth set was a nailbiter. The Warriors opened up an 8-5 lead midway through the set, but Grace rallied off four straight to regain the lead. Makaela Lochmueller had two kills during that spurt.

Life Pacific recovered and climbed on top 12-10, but Grace had the final laugh with five straight points. The Lady Lancers’ blocking effort scored two late points, including the match-sealing block by Kelsey Smith and Leach in a 15-12 win.

The Lady Lancers will conclude the weekend tournament on Saturday, playing against No. 16 Cornerstone at 12 p.m. and Northwestern Ohio at 6 p.m.