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Grace spikers tripped up at IWU in semifinals

MARION, Ind. – A hard-fought semifinal match in the Crossroads League Tournament semifinals went against Grace’s volleyball team.

The Lady Lancers lost in three sets at Indiana Wesleyan as the Wildcats’ offense was not able to be stopped.

Grace will switch its focus to qualifying for the NCCAA National Championships. 

In the opening set, Indiana Wesleyan broke open an 8-8 tie with a 10-4 run. Grace coach Katie Van Hofwegen called timeout with her team behind 18-12, and her pep talk worked.

The Lady Lancers (21-15) rattled off a 10-4 run of their own to tie the score at 22-22. IWU had the final word, however, ending the set with three straight points to win 25-22.

In the second set, Grace fell behind 10-5 and never made up the gap. The Wildcats (26-10) pulled ahead in the match 2-0 thanks to a six-point win in the set.

Grace seemed poised to claim the third set. The Lady Lancers earned a four-point edge, forcing IWU to burn a timeout.

The Wildcats rallied with four straight points to tie the game, and the teams took turns grabbing the lead down the stretch.

Sierra Smith and Marta Bleed had back-to-back kills to put the Lancers on top 23-22, and the Wildcats used a timeout. IWU recovered, clinching the match with three consecutive points to win 25-23.

While Grace’s team hit at a respectable .200 percentage, the Wildcats were lethally efficient at .318. IWU had nine fewer attack errors and two more block points than Grace.

Smith led Grace with 12 kills, 1 solo block and 2 block assists, and Kelsee Zuidema added 10 kills on a .381 percentage.

Bleed produced six kills and three block assists, Alexa Hill passed out 36 assists with nine digs, Sara Miller racked up 18 digs, and Tori Bontrager chipped in three kills and three block assists.

The Lady Lancers will await word on the NCCAA regional tournament.