Grace spikers tripped up by USF

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Just hours after rallying with a 3-2 comeback win at Spring Arbor, Grace’s volleyball team experienced a letdown on Saturday.

Grace slipped at home to St. Francis 3-1 at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.

The Lady Lancers (7-5, 2-2 Crossroads League), who are still playing without an offensive leader Kelsee Zuidema due to injury, could only produce 45 kills in the four sets. The Cougars (2-11, 1-2 CL), on the other hand, had 59 kills against Grace’s defense.

The first set saw Grace fall into an early hole and never climb out. Grace burned early timeouts to slow USF’s momentum, but they still trailed by nine. USF held on to win 25-17 after limiting the Lady Lancers to a .075 hitting percentage.

The Lady Lancers evened up the match in the second set with a 25-20 victory. Marta Bleed ended the set with a kill from the left side.

The third set saw Grace struggle again offensively. The Lady Lancers had eight kills and seven attacking errors in a 25-18 defeat.

In the fourth, Grace showed life and was on the verge of forcing another five-set match. Grace tied the score at 14-14 after a kill from Kari Feddema.

USF went on to win seven of the next eight points to grab a 21-15 advantage, but Grace rallied back. The Lady Lancers scored six consecutive points to tie the game 21-21.

The Cougars refused to surrender the lead, however, and went ahead by two. Grace again rebounded to tie the game 23-23, but USF ended the match with two more points to win 25-23.

Bleed led Grace with 13 kills and two block assists. Feddema had nine kills on a .412 percentage, and Savannah Hart added seven kills and four block assists.

Sierra Smith tallied eight kills, Sara Miller amassed a match-high 21 digs, and Caylie Teel had 16 digs.

The Lady Lancers remain at home for two matches next week. Grace will host Mt. Vernon Nazarene on Wednesday and Huntington on Friday.