The Lady Lancers (6-3; 1-0 Crossroads League) held IWU to a .100 team hitting percentage to give the Wildcats (7-1; 0-1 CL) their first loss of the season.
“We executed our game plan extremely well tonight, and we put a lot of pressure on [IWU],” said Grace head coach Andria Harshman. “I’m really proud of this team for the way we prepared and planned. The women played against a great program tonight and rose to the level we needed to.”
With the score knotted at eight in the opening set, Grace made the first significant run of the match to spring ahead 19-11. The Wildcats did their best to claw back, but the damage was already done as Grace held on for a 25-19 win.
IWU proved their ranking with a strong rebuttal, scoring seven straight points early in the second set to seize momentum and take the second set, 25-15.
The Lady Lancers were undaunted, however, and used a 12-4 run midway through the third set to grab an 18-9 advantage. The team went on to coast to a 25-16 victory.
The fourth set started evenly until Grace burst ahead 18-12.Grace appeared to be on the verge of an easy victory until the Wildcats made a late push to cut Grace’s lead to three points.
But a well-placed timeout for Grace allowed the Lady Lancers to regain control and clinch the upset with a 25-19 victory on a kill from Calah Kruse.
Alicia Gosney put in a strong performance by tallying 13 kills on a .200 percentage to go along with 12 digs, 2 solo blocks and 3 block assists.
Grace’s defense proved to be a major advantage as the team racked up 10 team blocks. Arielle Walters had one solo block and four block assists, Stefanie Bolt recorded three block assists and Dana Johnston added two block assists to her nine kills.
Bethany Whitcraft led Grace with 17 digs, and Calah Kruse added 13 digs and eight kills. Christina LeBlanc, the reigning CL Setter of the Week, dished out 39 assists.
The Lady Lancers return to the OCC for their 2012 home opener on Friday. Grace’s match with Huntington will start at 7 p.m.