No. 19 USF holds off Lady Lancers

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Grace’s volleyball team was unable to hand No. 19 St. Francis an upset on Saturday in a 3-1 defeat.

The Cougars (14-2, 4-0 Crossroads League) are one of the hottest teams in the NAIA right now with 11 straight victories. Grace was competitive in every set and actually had more kills than USF.

The Lady Lancers (8-4, 2-2 CL) recorded 57 kills at a .235 percentage, but Grace was unable to slow down USF’s attack for the upset.

The Cougars (14-2, 4-0 CL) jumped ahead of Grace early in the first set and held on for a five-point win.

The score was nearly inseparable in the second set, but USF escaped with a 25-23 victory.

Grace won the third set 25-17, the largest margin of the entire match. The Lady Lancers ended the set on a 10-2 run to win the third game.

The match was clinched by USF in the fourth set. The score was knotted late at 19-19, but the Cougars won six of the next eight points to end the match.

Grace’s dynamic offense was spearheaded by Alexa Hill, who amassed 55 assists in just four sets to go along with eight digs.

Caylie Teel picked up a double-double with 18 kills and 14 digs, and Kelsee Zuidema tallied 17 kills on a .325 percentage while adding seven digs and two aces.

Marta Bleed added 12 kills on a .417 percentage, Makaela Lochmueller had 6 kills, 1 solo block and 2 block assists, and Gina Novotny led all players with 27 digs.

The Lady Lancers play twice next week, including at Mt. Vernon Nazarene on Tuesday and home against Huntington on Friday.