WINONA LAKE – Playing without their top attacking option, Grace’s volleyball team used a balanced attack to sweep Bethel College 3-0 on Friday night.
The Lady Lancers (16-4, 7-1 Crossroads League) bounced back from a disappointing loss earlier in the week to Goshen, rebounding to sweep last year’s CL champion in front of a frenzied crowd at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.
Grace played Friday night’s match without senior Calah Kruse, and sophomore Kaitlin Kerrigan did her part to fill the void with a match-high 13 kills.
In the opening set, Grace started strongly to earn a 20-12 advantage. Bethel used two quick timeouts to battle back, cutting the gap to one at 24-23. But Grace clinched the set on a Pilot error. Kerrigan pounded out three timely kills down the stretch to keep the Pilots at bay.
Grace continued its momentum into the second set, holding a small lead over Bethel throughout the set. The Lady Lancers limited the Pilots (10-8, 4-4 CL) to a .000 hitting percentage in the set, and Megan Johnson finished the 25-20 win with a kill.
Bethel was up for the challenge in the third set, claiming a 14-11 lead to force a timeout from Grace head coach Andria Harshman. The Lady Lancers refocused to tie the score, but Bethel maintained a slight edge toward the finale.
The Pilots served at 24-23 to win the set, but Kerrigan ignited a raucous home crowd with a kill to tie the score. Grace went on to take the 27-25 victory with a block point from Sierra Smith and Tori Bontrager followed by an attack error on the Pilots. Freshman Sara Miller came up with two acrobatic defensive saves in the final points to give Grace a shot at the sweep.
Kerrigan’s 13 kills came on a .370 percentage. She also tied for match honors with 13 digs. Grace Woolsey finished with 8 kills, 1 solo block and 3 block assists, and Ellie Harp tallied 30 assists, 6 kills and 6 digs.
The Lady Lancers continue league play at home on Saturday with a crucial match against Indiana Wesleyan. Grace, currently second in the league standings, will aim to deal the Wildcats their first loss of the league season on Saturday 3 p.m. at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.