Ferris State Volleyball Moves Into Gold Championship Division With Two Wins In Colorado Tourney

Ferris State Volleyball Moves Into Gold Championship Division With Two Wins In Colorado Tourney

Big Rapids, Mich. - The nationally 13th-ranked Ferris State University volleyball squad kept its unbeaten season-opening win streak intact as the Bulldogs topped Missouri S&T and West Florida to open the prestigious Colorado Premier Challenge on Friday (Sept. 11) in Denver, Colo.

The Bulldogs improved to 6-0 on the year with a 3-1 triumph versus Missouri S&T in the opening match followed by a 3-0 shutout against 25th-ranked West Florida late Friday night.

With the two wins, the Bulldogs captured pool #2 and will advance to the Gold Division for Saturday's (Sept. 12) final day of action in the Mile High City.

In the first match of the day against regional foe Missouri S&T, the Bulldogs dropped the first frame 27-25, but rallied back to take the final three by scores of 25-13, 25-21 and 25-17 overall.

FSU posted an impressive .321 attack figure, including a .600 showing in the second set, and tallied 61 kills while limiting the Miners to a .116 hitting figure.

Senior outside hitter Megan Vander Meer had a big match with 18 kills and 13 digs to lead the Bulldog cause. She also added three block assists. Meanwhile, both senior outside hitter Alexis Huntey and senior middle hitter Caroline Heitzman totaled 14 kills each in the balanced attack.

Along with Vander Meer's 13 digs, FSU also received 13 from freshman Katie Placek along with 12 by libero Danielle Dowd and 10 from Huntey. Junior setter Stephanie Sikorski totaled 45 assists to lead the offense.

Missouri S&T was led by Carlie Combs' eight kills. Alexis White netted 29 assists and Jackie Pyles had a match-best 19 digs in the setback.

Ferris State then rolled to a 25-22, 25-15, 25-11 victory in the second match of the day against West Florida. In the battle of nationally-ranked teams, FSU held UWF to only a .007 hitting percentage.

FSU, which hit .221 in the second match, received nine kills from Huntey along with seven by Heitzman and six from Vander Meer. Sikorski tallied 23 assists while Huntey had 16 digs, Placek compiled 12 and both Vander Meer and Dowd netted 11 each.

Ferris State also came up with six solo blocks and 12 assisted blocks in the second match.

On the West Florida side, Holly Mattmuller led the way with eight kills. Monique StCyr had 21 assists and 11 digs.

Ferris State will take on defending national runner-up and #2 Southwest Minnesota State in the Gold Division on Saturday at 2 p.m. (ET) on the campus of Metro State (Colo.). The other Gold Division contest will pit defending national champion and #1 Tampa against perennial Division II power and #4 Concordia-St. Paul.

Following the opening match, the two winners in the Gold Division will play for the championship at 9 p.m. (ET). The other two teams will compete in the Gold Division third-place match at 7 p.m. (ET). Both the third place and title matches will be carried live by ESPN3.

A total of 12 schools are taking part in the annual Colorado Premier Challenge. The 2015 tournament field features six teams that finished the 2014 season in the top 25, and 10 of the 12 teams were ranked at some point last season.

The past seven national champions have all competed in the Premier, including last year's winners from the University of Tampa. The Spartans are returning to this year's tournament for the fourth consecutive year. Last year's national runner-up Southwest Minnesota State is competing for the third consecutive year. Concordia-St. Paul, which had its streak of seven consecutive national championships snapped last year, has won the Premier four of the past seven years.