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Ferris State Volleyball Wins Thrilling Match For 10th Consecutive Victory Over Rival GVSU

Postgame Highlights / Coach Interview Video
Postgame Interview - Katie O'Connell Video

Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University women's volleyball squad rallied back to beat archrival Grand Valley State in thrilling fashion before a capacity crowd on Thursday (Sept. 23) night inside the Ewigleben Sports Arena as the Bulldogs pulled out a hard-fought 3-2 triumph.

The visiting Lakers took a tight first set 27-25 before FSU evened the match with a 25-20 win in the second. However, the Lakers pulled back in front in extra points, winning 29-27 in a back-and-forth third set. That set the stage, though, for a Bulldog comeback with FSU taking the fourth 25-18 to force the deciding fifth set.

In the final set of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) encounter, the Bulldogs jumped in front early and never looked back, pulling out a 15-10 victory before an enthusiastic home crowd.

The Bulldogs' win over the Lakers was FSU's 10th consecutive victory in the West Michigan rivalry series and the first tilt played in Big Rapids since 2017.

Senior Katie O'Connell, who was honored prior to the match for notching her 1,000th career kill last week, led the way for the Bulldogs with 15 kills and a team-high 24 digs. She was joined in double-figures by Keona Salesman with 15 kills and 10 digs.

Meanwhile, middle hitters Kira Merkle and Olivia Henneman-Dallape both totaled 11 kills each while setter Kaylee Maat had 49 assists and 15 digs. The Bulldogs also got 22 digs from libero Nina Gorgijevska in addition to 10 each by freshman Connie LeBel and senior Brooke Norder.

Overall, the Bulldogs posted a strong .218 hitting figure while limiting GVSU to a .139 showing. The Bulldogs recorded 95 digs to the Lakers' 86 digs and came way with six aces compared to GVSU's five. FSU did have 10 service mistakes, but the Lakers recorded 14 errors from the service line.

Grand Valley State was led by Ali Thompson with 17 kills. Sarah Wight added 14 kills while both Abby Graham and Lisa Sullivan notched 11 apiece. Meanwhile, setter Rachel Jacquay had 49 assists and 12 digs while the Lakers also received 17 digs from Thompson in addition to 15 by Graham and 10 from Julia Blaney. Libero Erin O'Leary led the way for Grand Valley State with 28 digs.

The Bulldogs will be back in action as they wrap up Homecoming weekend with yet another GLIAC West Michigan tilt on Sunday (Sept. 26) against Davenport starting at 4 p.m. (ET).