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Grace wins wild five-setter at HU

HUNTINGTON, Ind. – Grace’s volleyball match on Friday at Huntington had as much drama as could be fit into five sets.

The Lady Lancers (9-10, 5-3 Crossroads League) pulled out a 3-2 victory, winning for the fifth time in the past six matches.

Grace was led by 16 kills from Makaela Lochmueller and 12 kills by Katie Swanson. Alexa Hill nearly had a triple-double with 50 assists, 13 digs and 7 kills to lead Grace’s offense.

The Foresters (9-9, 3-5 CL) started the match on a strong note with a dominant 25-15 win. Huntington’s blocking efforts shut down Grace, forcing the Lady Lancers into a .029 attack percentage.

Grace’s offense got back on track over the next two sets; the Lady Lancers won 25-19 and 25-18 to pull ahead.

The third set, in particular, was an offensive clinic for Grace. Hill directed Grace to 18 kills on a .406 percentage.

The Lady Lancers were on the verge of ending the match in the fourth set. Jadyn Block’s kill put Grace on top 24-22 and one point away from winning.

But the Foresters staved off elimination by winning four straight points to force a fifth set.

The drama only continued in the fifth set. The teams traded mini-runs as momentum swung back-and-forth. Huntington won three of the first four points, but Grace responded and took a 9-7 lead.

The Foresters scored three in a row, but a pair of freshmen (Swanson, Corynne Aelker) tallied back-to-back kills to tie the game at 12-12.

After a HU timeout, the Foresters had an attack error. Hanna Leach then ended the match with kills on consecutive plays for the final 16-14 win.

Lochmueller’s 16 kills came on a .536 percentage, and Aelker had 8 kills, 1 solo block and 2 block assists. Leach tallied seven kills and four block assists. Hill’s seven kills came on just eight attempts, and she added 1 ace, 1 solo block and 2 block assists.

Gina Novotny was spectacular defensively, leading all players with 26 digs to go along with two aces.

The Lady Lancers remain on the road Saturday with a 1 p.m. match at No. 22 Marian.