UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich - The Saginaw Valley State University volleyball team came back to defeat the Davenport Panthers 3-2, in GLIAC play. The Cardinals improve to to 16-5 overall and 8-2 in the GLIAC.
The Cardinals opened the first set with a four point advantage over Davenport led by Rylee Zimmer and Hannah Tabit who both recorded a kill and a block assist each to put SVSU up, 5-1. Davenport would make a come back and take the lead, 14-11, later in the set. Saginaw Valley was unable to match the attack of the Panthers and would fall, 25-18 in the first set.
The Panthers opened set two with series of offensive plays that would put them up, 8-4, over the Cardinals. The Panther defense stayed strong as Davenport continued to gain momentum and lead by eight late in the match. This eight point deficit was too much for SVSU to overcome and the Cardinals would drop set two to the Panthers, 25-17.
The Cardinals controlled play in the third set, taking an early five point lead over the Panthers, 10-5. SVSU would maintain that lead through the rest of the match as the Cardinals found their offensive and defensive groove. Saginaw Valley took set three by a final count of 25-17 and were led by freshman Rylee Zimmer who had two of the three final points, one coming on a service ace and the other on a kill.
Saginaw Valley would open set four with a commanding lead, 10-3, as the Cardinal offense set up kills from four different players. The Cardinals continued to gain momentum as the match went on as Zimmer would earn a block and a kill late to put SVSU up, 20-15. Friesl and Maria Vukaj would close the fourth set with a block, sending the match into a fifth set with a final score of 25-20.
The fifth and final set was evenly matched as the set was knotted 11-11. The Cardinal defense stepped up and would force a Davenport error, followed by a kill from Friesl, and after that a block by Friesl and Hannah Tabit to give SVSU the three point advantage, 14-11. The final point would come on an unassisted kill by Friesl to give the Cardinals a set five win, 15-12, and close out the match with a final count of 3-2 in favor of SVSU.
Inside the Box Score
- Maria Vukaj led the team in kills (16), a match high for her, and digs (14). She also earned one block and three assists in the win over Davenport. Her stellar performance earned her 'Player of the Match' honors, her second of the season.
- Rylee Zimmer had a season-high eight kills and led the team in hitting percentage with .438. She also added two blocks defensively for the Cardinals.
- Hannah Tabit recorded a team high of 50 assists for the second time this season which opened up the Cardinal offense. She also added four kills, seven digs, and three blocks in the win over DU.
- Emily Friesl had a spectacular game for the Cardinals as she recorded 14 kills and had a hitting percentage of .333. Friesl added a team high of six blocks and a service ace in the win.
- Maria Vukaj led the team in kills (16), a match high for her, and digs (14). She also earned one block and three assists in the win over Davenport.
From Head Coach Will Stanton
"We did not get a good start and gave up the first two sets without enough of a fight. I'd like the team to find a better sense of urgency before we have our backs to the wall. But once our passing and offense got started, we really did a good job of neutralizing their serve. Our outside hitters really stepped up their decision making and our servers executed at a great level."
The Cardinals are back in action Saturday (Oct. 26) as they host conference rivals, Grand Valley State University. First serve is set for 2:00 p.m. You can follow the action live at svsucardinals.com.