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Grace spikers topple league-leading No. 25 Marian

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace College’s volleyball team sent a shockwave through the Crossroads League with a 3-0 upset of No. 25 Marian on Wednesday.

The Lady Lancers (17-13, 9-5 CL) swept the league-leading Knights at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center with a less-than-full-strength squad.

Marian entered Wednesday’s match as one of the hottest teams in the nation, winning 21 of its past 22 matches. But Grace used a dominant attack by its three primary hitters in the 3-0 sweep.

All three sets came down to the final points between the sides. In the opener, the teams traded points for most of the set until Marian gained a slight 22-18 edge late.

Kelsee Zuidema decided to take matters into her own hands, serving up three straight aces to force a timeout from Marian. The tactic did not work as Grace ended the game on a 7-0 run, punctuated by a solo block by Tori Bontrager on the final rally.

The second set had a similar theme. The Knights (23-4, 13-2 CL) had a 20-16 lead when Grace coach Katie Van Hofwegen called timeout.

The Lady Lancers regained composure and won seven of the next eight points to pull ahead. Zuidema had two kills and an ace in that spurt, and Smith secured the 25-23 win with a kill.

Grace finalized the sweep with a 25-22 win in the third set. Marian hurt its cause with several errors in the final rallies, and Caylie Teel had a timely kill late to seal the win.

Teel and Zuidema combined for 24 kills in the win; each player had 12 kills on just one error. Zuidema added four service aces, and Teel had seven digs and an ace.

Smith pounded out nine kills, Alexa Hill had 39 assists and 10 digs, Sara Miller racked up 22 digs, and Gina Novotny added 10 digs.

The Lady Lancers will look to continue their momentum on Saturday, hosting Indiana Wesleyan at 3 p.m. Saturday’s match will also be Senior Day to honor the graduating class.