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Northwood rallies to top SVSU in five sets

Northwood rallies to top SVSU in five sets

UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich. – Northwood University rallied from two sets down to stun the Saginaw Valley State University volleyball team in the finale of the season-opening weekend series Saturday at Hamilton Gymnasium.

The Cardinals won two dramatic sets to take control at 2-0, but the Timberwolves edged SVSU in the next two to set up the fifth frame. Up 7-6 in the fifth, Northwood took over, closing out the match on an 8-2 run.

The set scores were 26-28, 22-25, 25-22, 25-23, 15-8, in a match that included 36 tie scores and 19 lead changes throughout. The loss drops SVSU to 0-2 overall and 0-2 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference to start the season.

The Cardinals saved three Northwood set points in the first, scoring the final three of the frame, including a kill from Rylee Zimmer to close it out. SVSU took a five-point lead midway through the second and held off a Northwood rally to go up 2-0.

Northwood built a four-point advantage halfway through the third and this time closed out the Cardinals to cut the deficit in half. SVSU led the fourth set late, 23-22, but the Timberwolves took advantage of two Cardinal errors to force the fifth set.

Maria Vukaj led the SVSU attack with 18 kills, adding four total blocks at the net and 14 digs. Peyton Gerstacker settled into her new role as a setter for the Cardinals, recording 43 assists, 14 digs and three total blocks.

Madison Thompson finished with 13 kills, while Emily Friesl added seven kills and four total blocks. Libero Kelsey Vittitow recorded 12 digs and a team-high three service aces.

Mackenzie Kepler and Grace Rekeweg each finished with 17 kills for the Timberwolves. Macy Lintz recorded a match-high 52 assists for Northwood (2-0, 2-0 GLIAC).

The Cardinals hit the road for the first time in 2021 with two games at Northern Michigan University starting at 4:30 pm Friday in Marquette, Mich.