WINONA LAKE – It took five sets, but Grace’s volleyball team ended Friday night with a dramatic season sweep of Taylor.
The Lady Lancers had to play from behind, pulling out a 3-2 victory in front of a “Whiteout” crowd at the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center.
With the win, Grace (17-7, 9-3 Crossroads League) moved into a three-way tie for second place in the Crossroads League, just one game behind league leader Marian.
Taylor took an early advantage by stealing the first set on the road. Grace seemed comfortably ahead after back-to-back kills by Caylie Teel and Marta Bleed put Grace up 21-16.
But the Trojans (10-13, 5-7 CL) came roaring back, ending the set on a 9-2 run to win 25-23.
Grace was swift in response in the second set with a 25-18 win. The Lady Lancers’ attack was dominant with 17 kills on just two errors for a .429 percentage. Teel had six kills in that set alone.
The Trojans opened up the third set with a 7-1 lead, forcing an early timeout by Grace head coach Katie Van Hofwegen. The adjustments worked as Grace quickly tied the score at 11-11.
The score remained close for the rest of the match, but Taylor made plays late to come up with its second 25-23 win of the match.
The Lady Lancers stayed alive with a 25-19 win in the fourth set. Kelsee Zuidema sparked a run with her deadly serving, acing on two straight attempts to give Grace momentum.
The teams started the decisive fifth set evenly; Taylor edged ahead 8-7 at the midway mark.
Kelsey Smith then boosted Grace to victory almost by herself. On back-to-back plays, she had a kill and a solo block to put the Lady Lancers ahead for good. Later in the set she added yet another solo block and a block assist to keep Taylor on its collective heels.
Teel proceeded to end the match 15-9 with a kill as Grace’s loud student base erupted with glee.
Bleed enjoyed a career-high 18 kills on a .318 percentage, and Teel amassed 16 kills, 15 digs, 1 solo block and 2 block assists.
Alexa Hill’s mastery directing Grace’s offense resulted in 57 assists; Grace hit at a .227 percentage and had 62 kills compared to 53 kills on a .131 percentage from Taylor.
Zuidema had a well-rounded night with 14 kills on a .286 percentage, adding 8 digs, 2 aces, 1 solo block and 1 block assists. Smith’s night featured 6 kills, 2 solo blocks and 3 block assists, and Gina Novotny led all players with 20 digs.
The Lady Lancers end the week on the road at Huntington on Saturday at 3 p.m.