WINONA LAKE – A strong defensive presence coupled with 16 kills from Calah Kruse led the Grace College volleyball team to a 3-0 sweep of Marian on Wednesday.
The Lady Lancers (12-3, 2-0 Crossroads League) held Marian to a .069 hitting percentage and earned 10 block points at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.
Although Grace swept the Knights (3-8, 0-2 CL), all three sets were close until the final whistle.
The Lady Lancers came out swinging in the opening set, pounding out 14 kills on four errors in a 25-21 win. Kruse was on the finishing end of six of Ellie Harp’s 11 assists in the set.
In the second set, Grace held a slight lead for much of the game. But the young Knights, with just one upperclassman on the roster, showed resolve to force extra points. Tori Bontrager produced a key solo block late, and Kruse pounded out a kill in the final rally for a 26-24 victory.
Marian threatened to win the third set and seemed to have momentum with a 20-16 advantage. A well-placed timeout from coach Andria Harshman allowed the Lady Lancers to recover with an immediate 4-1 spurt. Freshman Sierra Smith subbed in for the final stages off the bench and teamed up for a late block and kill. Grace Woolsey spearheaded a defensive play at the net in the final point as Grace held on for the 25-23 win.
Kruse was the standout offensive player in the match with a match-best 16 kills to go along with 13 digs and two block assists. Harp, the reigning CL Setter of the Week, passed out 33 assists with three kills.
Hannah Clemmons led all players with 17 digs, Woolsey finished with 10 kills and five block assists, Megan Johnson racked up five block assists and Sara Miller added six digs off the bench.
The Lady Lancers have two matches remaining in the week. Grace travels to Spring Arbor on Friday before returning home on Saturday at 3 p.m. against St. Francis.