HOUGHTON, Mich. - The Lake Superior State University women's volleyball team played one of its best matches of the season this Saturday (Sept. 9) afternoon at the 2017 Keweenaw Classic, but were unable to hold off Bemidji State from prevailing in the fifth set as the Lakers suffered a 3-2 non-league setback (23-25, 25-21, 19-25, 25-17, 15-17) at Michigan Tech's Student Development Complex Gymnasium in Houghton, Mich.
The deciding set was forced by Lake Superior State, who would go on to trail 12-9 midway through the fifth set before rallying to pull into a 13-all tie. The score would be tied twice more before Bemidji State snapped the 15-15 deadlock with back-to-back kills for the victory.
Senior outside hitter Brooke Williams paced two Lake Superior State players in double-figure kills with a match-leading 18 total while Bemidji State featured three in the double-digit kills column, led by Anna Averkamp's 17.
The loss drops Lake State's record to 1-4 overall on the season and the Beavers upped their mark to 3-4 as a result of victory.
Lake Superior State also received a 15-kills performance from junior outside hitter Jena Tulgestke despite being outhit by a 65-58 margin in kills. The Lakers finished the five-set match registering a .203 attack percentage, which bettered the Beavers' .173 hitting efficency rate.
Defensively, senior libero Paige Gotham totaled both a match-high and season-best 30 digs. Sophomore outside hitter Amanda Reid supplied 15 for the Lakers while Hope Splinter's 24 digs was tops among three BSU players to produce double figure numbers. Senior middle blocker Karlee Weissend paced LSSU in blocking with six block assists.
A 5-0 run by Lake Superior State started the opening set, but Bemidji State was gradually able to cut into the Lakers' lead and draw into a 17-all tie. LSSU managed to regain the lead at 22-21 before the Beavers went on a 4-1 scoring spurt to take a 1-0 match lead.
The second set was tight through the first 26 points scored before Lake State gained momentum by scoring nine of the next 12 points to take a 22-15 lead. LSSU then withstood a late BSU surge and hung on for a 25-21 second-set win and even the match score at 1-1.
Bemidji State turned the tables in the proceeding set with three consecutive points to cut a 9-9 tie and never trailed the rest of the way. The closest Lake State would get was 16-14 on a Madison Castle service ace before the Beavers outscored the Lakers 7-2 to go up 23-16 and sealed the third set with a pair of kills.
Trailing 2-1 in the match, Lake Superior State started the fourth set with a 7-3 run and maintained a slim lead before stretching it to six points at 19-13 on a BSU attack error. The Beavers sliced LSSU's lead to four (19-15) only to have the Lakers come back and extend their advantage to eight points at 23-15 thanks to a kill from junior outside hitter Morgan Kelley. A pair of consecutive kills by Jena Tulgestke accounted for the set's final two points as the Lakers forced BSU into the deciding fifth set.
Next up for Lake Superior State is a 5 p.m. (EDT) match versus St. Cloud (Minn.) State this Saturday (Sept. 9) afternoon in the Lakers' final match of the 2017 Keweenaw Classic.