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Grace topples No. 16 Cornerstone

HUNTINGTON, Ind. – On the final day of the Huntington Invitational, Grace’s volleyball team took down No. 16 Cornerstone on Saturday.

The Lady Lancers split the day, falling to Northwestern Ohio in five sets to wrap up an eventful weekend.

Grace won three of four matches during the tournament, including two five-setters.

In the first match of Saturday, Grace scored its first upset of the season against No. 16 Cornerstone. The Lady Lancers (3-1) dropped the opening set 25-23, but they went on to win the next three sets.

In the second set, Grace scored the first two points and never trailed the rest of the way. With Grace clinging to a 23-22 lead, Makaela Lochmueller recorded a kill, and Marta Bleed served up an ace to finish up a 25-22 victory.

In the third set, the score remained close throughout the later stages. Kills by Lochmueller and Kelsee Zuidema helped Grace pull ahead 24-20, but the Golden Eagles scored three straight to threaten extra points.

But Lexy Oppenhuis ended the set with a kill on the next rally for a 25-23 win.

Cornerstone looked to force a tiebreaker with an early lead in the fourth set. The Golden Eagles seized a dominant 10-3 advantage.

The Lady Lancers responded with a game-changing run. Cornerstone called two timeouts during Grace’s charge, but they couldn’t stop the onslaught. Grace went on a 17-5 run, sparked by a pair of kills apiece from Zuidema, Lochmueller, Oppenhuis and Alexa Hill.

The shell-shocked Golden Eagles never recovered, and Zuidema got the final kill of the match, beating the block at the net for a 25-19 victory.

In the final match against Northwestern Ohio (UNOH), Grace was unable to hold onto a 2-1 advantage. The Lady Lancers won the second game 26-24 and the third set 25-22, poised to pick up their fourth victory of the weekend.

But the Racers pulled out a 25-19 win in the next game, and they won the tiebreaker 15-8 to end the match.

Caylie Teel had 18 kills and 12 digs, and Hill passed out 49 assists. Gina Novotny tallied 17 digs, and Oppenhuis produced 14 kills.

Hill was named to the All-Tournament Team at the conclusion of the weekend.