While the Lady Lancers fell to NAIA No. 3 Columbia (Mo.) in three sets, they bounced back hours later to upset No. 20 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) in five thrilling sets.
The Lady Lancers (3-3) started out their match with Lindsey Wilson with a four-point victory in the opening set. Grace tallied 15 kills on a .205 percentage.
The Blue Raiders (2-4) bounced back to take a 2-1 advantage, however, with a 25-18 win in the second set and a 25-20 win in the third. In both sets, Grace was held to single-digit kills.
After a tense battle in the fourth, the Lady Lancers held on for a critical 25-23 victory to force a fifth set.
Grace had their finest performance in the fifth set, pounding out nine kills on only two errors to win 15-11 to seal the upset. Lindsey Wilson could only manage a .080 hitting percentage against Grace’s defense in the fifth set.
Dana Johnston proved to be a tough matchup for the Blue Raiders as she recorded 14 kills on a .379 percentage. Stefanie Bolt also impressed with 13 kills, 1 solo block and 1 block assist.
Christina LeBlanc dished out 47 assists, Alicia Gosney tallied 11 kills and Bethany Whitcraft had 17 digs. Calah Kruse (15) and Hannah Clemmons (12) also had double-digit digs.
In the opener, Columbia appeared to be flexing their muscles early in the first set when they took a 16-11 lead. But the Lady Lancers refused to be intimidated by the moment, rallying to tie the score at 17-17.
The teams stayed level until the score was knotted at 20 apiece, but the Cougars (1-0) ended the opening set with five straight points to win 25-20.
The second set provided a heightened sense of drama as the set went into extra points.
Grace fell behind early again to trail 16-10. The Lady Lancers showed their resolve with seven straight points to erase that deficit. From that point forward, the score was never more than two points in either team’s favor.
A well-placed serve from Clemmons forced a double hit from Columbia to give Grace a 25-24 advantage. The Cougars recovered, however, to net four of the next five points to take a 28-26 victory.
Grace started slowly in the third set and trailed 14-3 midway through the set. The Lady Lancers never fully regain composure from their opening deficit and lost 25-10 in the decisive third set.
As a team, Grace was held to a .114 hitting percentage with only 18 team kills to their credit. Gosney and Johnston each tallied seven kills to lead the team.
Arielle Walters and Bolt were outstanding in the block for Grace as each player was credited with four block assists.
Grace continues action tomorrow morning against Bethel (Tenn.) at 9 a.m. before ending the tournament against Park (Mo.) at 1 p.m.
Game report provided by the Grace College Sports Information Department.