Grace ends home tournament with split

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s volleyball team wrapped up the competitive Lancer Classic on Saturday with two matches.

The Lady Lancers (5-3) ended the day on a positive note, taking down Indiana Tech 3-1 at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.

The first match of the morning saw Grace fall in a nailbiter. The Lady Lancers nearly recovered from a 2-1 deficit to win in a fifth set, ultimately falling 3-2 to Northwestern Ohio (UNOH).

In the final match of the Lancer Classic, Grace’s balanced offense proved too much for Indiana Tech.

Grace’s offense was sizzling from the start, jumping out to a 15-5 advantage. The Lady Lancers pounded out 14 kills on just one error to win 25-17. Lexy Oppenhuis led all players in the set with five kills, including the game-clinching swing.

The Warriors (2-2) used an early 6-0 run to seize momentum in the second set, cruising to an eight-point win to even the match.

But Grace ended the match with two straight 25-20 victories to down the Warriors.

Kelsee Zuidema led all players with 16 kills to go along with 7 digs, 3 aces and 3 block assists, and Oppenhuis had 10 kills on just 15 attempts.

Sara Miller amassed 19 digs, while Alex Hill had a double-double of 41 assists and 10 digs.

Grace started the day sluggishly after playing the late match the night before. The Lady Lancers trailed 9-3 after the first serve and never recovered in a 25-17 defeat.

In the second set, Grace recovered from another early deficit to win 25-19, ending the set on a kill from Savannah Hart.

UNOH put Grace on the ropes with a decisive 25-18 win in the third, but Grace still had fight remaining.

The Lady Lancers forced a tiebreaker set with a 25-22 victory in the fourth as a block assist from Kari Feddema and Marta Bleed ended the scoring.

In the fifth, UNOH raced out to a 10-3 lead which forced Grace coach Katie Van Hofwegen to call timeout. Her strategy worked as Grace exploded on an 8-1 run to tie the game at 11-11.

The Racers looked to end the match with a 14-13 lead. But the Lady Lancers fended off two match points, including a timely kill from Zuidema, to take the contest into extra points.

Grace was never able to climb into the lead, however, and fell 17-15 to finish the match.

Zuidema led Grace’s attack with 19 kills on a .315 percentage, adding five digs and four block assists. Zuidema, Hart and Feddema all had four block assists, and Hart added two solo blocks as well.

Miller produced 28 digs, and Caylie Teel added 16 digs and three kills. Hill handed out 46 assists, and Sierra Smith tacked on eight kills.

The Lady Lancers begin Crossroads League action next week, hosting Taylor on Wednesday at 7 p.m.