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Grace chops down Foresters in league tournament

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s volleyball team bested Huntington for the third time this season with a 3-1 victory in the Crossroads League Tournament quarterfinals.

The Lady Lancers (21-14) showcased an impressive offensive barrage, led by 56 assists in four sets by Alexa Hill. Grace hit at a .296 percentage as a team, owning a 61-44 advantage in kills overall on Saturday.

Sierra Smith enjoyed a career-high evening, tying a personal record with 21 kills on a sizzling .500 percentage. Kelsee Zuidema racked up 15 kills at a .355 rate.

The win moves Grace into the semifinals of the league tournament; Grace will play at second-seed Indiana Wesleyan on Wednesday.

The Foresters (13-21) won the first set despite trailing for most of the game. Huntington called both of its timeouts in the first game in an attempt to slow Grace’s momentum.

The Lady Lancers led 16-11 and eventually served for the set at 24-22. But the Foresters survived two set points and took an unlikely 25-24 lead. Grace’s offense sputtered down the stretch and lost 27-25, suffering nine attack errors altogether.

Grace recovered with a seven-point victory in the second game to even the match. Smith had four kills in each of the first two sets to lead the hosts.

The Foresters could not find an answer to Grace’s offense in the third set in a 25-20 win. Marta Bleed ended the set with a kill, and Smith produced another five kills.

The fourth set was Grace’s best in a dominant 25-15 win. The Lady Lancers racked up 16 kills on just three errors, while Huntington struggled to nine kills with six errors.

Hill’s 56 assists were her fifth time topping 50 assists, and she added 10 digs. Sara Miller’s 17 digs led Grace’s defense, Gina Novotny tallied 11 digs, and Caylie Teel added 10 more.

Kari Feddema produced five kills and four block assists, Bleed totaled eight kills, and Tori Bontrager chipped in 6 kills, 2 solo blocks and 3 block assists.