Lake Erie Storms Into G-MAC Semifinals, 3–1

PAINESVILLE, Ohio — The Lake Erie College volleyball team rallied from a one set deficit to defeat the Tiffin University Dragons 3–1 (20–25, 25–20, 25–20, 25–23) on Tuesday (Nov. 6) night at the Osborne Center.

For the second straight year, the Storm advanced to the G-MAC Semifinals with a quarterfinal victory over a West Division opponent. Last year as the top seed in the East, the Storm swept Kentucky Wesleyan 3–0. This year, Lake Erie as the #2 East seed, defeated first year G-MAC member Tiffin.

Tiffin scored three of the first four points and jumped out to a 6–3 lead following a service ace from Kyley Keene. After the Dragons gained a three point lead, the Storm chipped away at the lead until Courtney Rosebrook tied the first set at ten with a kill. The set was tied at 13 before Sydney Gilland had two kills on a 4–0 Tiffin run, taking a 17–13 lead as Lake Erie took a timeout. Hailey Nielsen and Maria Blatnik both had kills after the timeout, trimming the lead to 17–15. Jenna Huffman had two straight kills as the Dragons gained a five point advantage. Tiffin led by as many as six before Lake Erie fought off two set points on Alexis Thomas and Rosebrook kills before Tiffin ended the set with a 25–20 win.

Both teams exchanged points in the early going as they stayed within one point of each other. Tiffin gained a 9–7 cushion on a Gilland kill but Lake Erie used an error and a Nielsen kill to tie the set at nine. The Storm pushed the lead to two before two errors pulled Tiffin into a 17–16 lead. Nielsen, Blatnik and Paige Allen put the Storm up 19–17 with three consecutive kills with the Dragons taking time. Blatnik forced a second Tiffin timeout with a kill at 22–19 Lake Erie. Tiffin had a kill after the TO before Lake Erie got three straight points from Blatnik, Rosebrook and Crystal Kedroske. The Storm knotted the match at one with a 25–20 set two win.

The Storm scored the first two points of the third set on a combined block by Kedroske and Allen and a Kedroske kill. Tiffin later tied the set at four with a kill by Amanda Curry and block from Schreiber and Curry. Two errors gave the Storm a 10–8 lead but the match quickly became tied and a seesaw battle occured. With the set tied at 16-all, a Thomas kill, a ace by Morgan Briggs and a Kedroske kill made it 19–16 Storm. Lake Erie got key kills from Blatnik, Rosebrook and Nielsen as they closed out set three 25–20.

Tiffin turned a 3–3 tie into a 7–3 lead with three kills and an error. Lake Erie responded right back with a 4–1 run as the set was tied at seven aside. A block by Blatnik and Thomas pulled the set into the tie. Both teams matched each other point-for-point until a 16–16 deadlock. Tiffin pulled ahead with three straight points, taking a 19–16 lead. Rosebrook combined on two blocks as the Storm pulled even once again at 19. With the set tied at 21, Curry and Schreiber each had kills for Tiffin as they gained a late 23–21 cushion. Lake Erie took timeout to regroup, then Neilsen and Blatnik answered with two straight kills. Tiffin called time with a 23–23 tie. Blatnik gave the Storm a match point opportunity with a kill. Blatnik and Allen blocked a kill attempt by Keene, sealing Lake Erie’s return trip to the semis.

Storm head coach Kyle Peck earned his first playoff victory in his first season with the Storm. He spoke after the match, “This is the first year that our conference has had four different hosting locations for the top four seeds. We were very, very fortunate to host. The atmosphere was absolutely insane. It probably earned us four or five points throughout the night. Tiffin is the tallest and most physical team we’ve seen all year. We knew we would have to stop Huffman and Curry. We put up a block on them in the hopes of getting a lot of touches, which slowed it down and let us control the ball more than the last time we faced them. Tonight was a really good team win. I’m really proud of our girls for fighting and working together as a team to get this win.”

Lake Erie hit .297 for the match as four players had double digit kills. Kedroske finished with 19 kills and 22 digs. Nielsen added 15 kills while Blatnik and Rosebrook had 12 each. Briggs had 21 digs and Hallie Zumack contributed 12 digs.

Tiffin matched Lake Erie with a .293 hitting percentage. J. Huffman led with 24 kills and added 12 digs. Curry had 18 kills with Loryn Huffman compiling 19 digs. Keene had 12 digs and Sam Fallis added 12 digs.

Stats

The Storm will travel to Hillsdale College for the G-MAC Tournament for a rematch with the Chargers on Friday.