Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. — The Cardinal Volleyball program headed north Saturday afternoon to take on the Lakers of Lake Superior State University in the concluding matchup of regular season play.
SVSU and LSSU battled for the entire match, all the way until the final 15th point in the fifth set that fell in the Cards favor to earn a 3-2 victory over the Lakers.
Statistically speaking, the entire match looked almost identical on both sides of the ball. In the first set, SVSU posted 14 kills and eight errors, while the Lakers added 12 kills and seven errors. The extra two kills were enough to give Saginaw Valley the victory, 26-24 to lead 1-0 heading into the second set.
Big kills from the Lakers offense pushed set two in their favor after leading 11-7 early on. The Cards would battle back to tie up the score 20 all, but a four-point-run would leave Lake Superior State with a victory, 25-21, heading into the locker room break.
Set three was a hard fought battle for the Cardinals, as the team found themselves trailing the entire match until the scores knotted up 24-24. Luckily, the SVSU offense brought their A-game from Emily Friesl and Sarah Tabit, 26-24.
In set four, the Cardinal offense seemed to click as the team led 20-10 before a huge breakthrough for the Lakers offense came about to take the game in an entirely new direction. As the game just seemed to be over, the Lakers outscored SVSU 12-2 to tie up the game once again, 24-all.
An SV attacking error ended up leading LSSU to a 27-25 victory, pushing SVSU to a fifth-set after already doing the exact same thing earlier on this year in September.
The Cardinals came into the fifth set on fire, going on an 8-0 run led by middle blocker Friesl who earned four kills before the switching of sides.
The Lakers did their best to get back into the game, outscoring SV 8-7, but it was not enough to get ahead before the final whistle blew.
SVSU took the victory 15-8 and the match, 3-2.
Inside the Box Score:
- Hannah Tabit played an important role in the offensive systems in Saturday's victory over the Lakers, posting 52 assists, four digs and earned six kills, as well.
- S. Tabit posted 20 kills and her season-high three aces.
- Friesl earned 15 kills, hitting a .353 while adding on two blocks.
- Rachel Eisenhour earned a .429 attacking percentage after posting four kills with only one error is the two sets she participated in as well.
- Maria Vukaj recorded eight kills and 18 digs.
From head coach Will Stanton:
"LSSU served very tough and that put us at a disadvantage most of the night. We had to make some passing adjustments and our offense had to step up a bit. Our serving finally caught up and that made a huge difference down the stretch."
With this win, the Cardinals have clinched the #4 slot in the conference tournament and will host No. 5 Wayne State in the tournament on Wednesday at a time yet to be determined in Hamilton Gymnasium.
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