HOUGHTON, Mich. - The Lake Superior State University women's volleyball team turned in a competitive performance in its second 2017 Keweenaw Classic match this Friday (Sept. 8), but the final outcome went the way of the University of Mary (N.D). in a four-set non-league match at Michigan Tech University's Student Development Complex Gymnasium in Houghton, Mich.
With the four-set loss (25-14, 28-26, 22-25, 25-20), Lake State's record falls to 1-3 overall this season. The victory allowed Mary to even its overall record to 4-4.
The LSSU tandem of junior outside hitter Jena Tulgestke and sophomore outside hitter Amanda Reid combined for 21 kills and along with senior outside hitter Brooke Williams' eight accounted for 73 percent (29-43) of the squad's kills output. Mary, which outhit the Lakers 68-40, featured three players with double-digit kills led by Lauren Randall's match-best 29 kills.
A highlight of Lake Superior State's performance against Mary was its domination at the net as the Lakers amassed 22 block assists compared to the Mauraders' six rejections. Senior middle blocker Karlee Weissend's eight block assists represented a match high and not to be overlooked was Brooke Williams, who chalked up six block assists as LSSU held a one-sided 22-6 advantage in the statistical category.
Junior setter Lauren Lukasik distributed 22 assists and was joined in double figures by senior setter Madison Castle, who garnered 12 helpers. On the flip side, Amanda Lopes racked up a match-most 58 assists and served up five aces while being among five Mauraders to garner double-figure digs totals.
Senior libero Paige Gotham's match-best 24 digs was two shy of a personal season high. Senior libero-defensive specialist Justice Kjolhede supported the defensive effort by digging up eight Marauder balls.
Set one went to UM as the Marauders went on an 11-4 spurt midway through to lead 20-11, a deficit which the Lakers weren't able to overcome.
The second set saw both teams go back and forth with the score tied 14 times. LSSU was one shy of falling in match point, but rebounded with three straight to pull within a 24-all deadlock. A block assist by Karlee Weissend and Brooke Williams gave the Lakers a 25-24 edge before the two teams exchanged points. With the score tied at 26 apiece, UM produced back-to-back kills to earn the win.
Facing match elimination, Lake State reeled off five unanswered points to break a 16-all tie and take a 21-17 lead in the third set. However, Mary managed to trim its deficit to a point at 23-22 before the Lakers regained the lead for good as Jena Tulgestke tallied a point on a kill and blocks from Karlee Weissend and Brooke Williams on a UM hitting attack gave LSSU the deciding point and set.
The margin in the fourth set was also a narrow one throughout as the teams were knotted up after 17 points each. A Jena Tulgestke kill closed the gap to 21-20 after Mary pulled ahead but the Mauraders would score the remaining four points to claim the win and match.
LSSU will have little time to reflect on its first day of the tournament as the Lakers step right back onto the court this Saturday (Sept. 9) for their last two Keweenaw Classic matches. Lake State squares off against Bemidji (Minn.) State at 11 a.m. (EDT) before wrapping up tourney competition with a 5 p.m. (EDT) matchup versus St. Cloud (Minn.) State.