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Marian hands Grace first league loss

WINONA LAKE, Ind. – Grace’s volleyball team was unable to bounce back from a sluggish start against Marian on Wednesday.

The Lady Lancers played from behind most of the match at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center and lost 3-1 to the Knights, last year’s Crossroads League champions.

Grace started slow in each of the first three sets. The Knights (7-3, 1-1 CL) jumped out to a 16-8 edge in the opening set and never looked back. Grace burned both timeouts but could not slow down Marian in a 25-18 defeat.

The Knights seemed on their way to another victory in set two. Marian led 8-3 as Grace was forced to call timeout early.

But the Lady Lancers (7-3, 1-1 CL) rallied late. Senior Caylie Teel had a timely kill and a service ace, and fellow senior Marta Bleed completed the comeback with a kill down the line for a 25-23 victory.

Grace needed to play from behind again in the third set after allowing Marian to open up a four-point lead. The Lady Lancers managed to rally back and take a brief 14-13 lead, but Marian pulled away for a seven-point win. The Knights ended the set on a 12-4 charge.

The fourth game followed the script from the rest of the match. Marian grabbed a comfortable 18-11 edge midway into the set, forcing Grace to muster up a comeback.

The Lady Lancers showed moxie to battle back, winning eight of the next nine points. Teel had two kills and a block during Grace’s charge as the Lady Lancers tied the score at 19-19.

The score remained knotted at 21-21 until unforced errors undid the hosts. Marian’s final four points of the match came from errors by the Lady Lancers, allowing the Knights to end the night with a 25-22 win.

Grace’s attack sputtered at a .103 percentage, totaling 46 kills. Marian, on the other hand, racked up 61 kills at a .239 clip.

Teel tied for match honors with 18 kills to go along with 17 digs, and Alexa Hill also had a double-double with 43 assists and 15 digs.

Bleed produced 10 kills, Makaela Lochmueller tallied 7 kills, 1 solo block and 2 block assists, and Gina Novotny amassed 21 digs. Makayla Bell had 11 digs, and Kelsey Smith added five kills and three block assists.

The Lady Lancers remain at home on Friday, hosting Spring Arbor at 7 p.m.