With expectations high for the season, the Bulldogs kicked off the 2010 schedule with a successful weekend at the Ferris State Invitational.
The Bulldogs, who were voted as the co-favorite to win the GLIAC North Division in the 2010 coaches preseason poll along with Grand Valley State, took advantage of opening the season on their home court by going 3-1 on the weekend.
With a solid start to the season, head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm was happy to get off to a good start.
“We’re pretty pleased to do as well as we did this weekend,” said Brandel-Wilhelm. “I think our team was able to get a lot of game experience this weekend and that’s something that is important to us early in the year.”
Ferris opened the weekend tournament on Friday, as it cruised to consecutive 3-0 victories against Lock Haven and Glenville State.
But the cruise came to an end on Saturday as the team ran into nationally 18th-ranked Minnesota State in the first match of the day.
Despite taking the first set, 25-23, the Bulldogs were unable to keep the momentum in the second set, as Minnesota State broke a 22-22 tie late in the set on its way to a 25-22 set victory.
With the match deadlocked at a set apiece, Minnesota State took control in the final two sets by grabbing the third set 25-16 before closing out the match with a 25-18 win in the final set to take the match 3-1.
After being handed their first defeat of the season, the Bulldogs bounced back in their final match of the tournament by blanking Mercyhurst University 3-0.
Ferris took control early in the match by grabbing the first set, 25-19, as the team put up a .192 attack percentage against the Lakers’ .080 hitting rate.
The second set proved to be more competitive, though, as the teams battled to seven ties and three lead changes in the set. With the score tied at 18, Ferris broke away with a 5-1 run before Mercyhurst battled back to deadlock the score at 23.
The Bulldogs battled back, as sophomore Samantha Fordyce clinched the set victory with a kill to take the set, 25-23.
Leading 2-0 going into the third set, Ferris took control with 12 kills and four team blocks on its way to a match-clinching 25-15 set victory to close out the tournament weekend with a 3-1 record.
Senior Arielle Goodson and junior Ashley Huntey, who both were named to the All-Tournament Team for the weekend, led the way for Ferris with 10 and eight kills respectively.
Sophomore Ally Brecht notched seven kills along with seven digs while junior Lisa Tobiczyk put up a match-best 18 digs.
Brecht said it was important for the team to bounce back in the final match of the day.
“It’s hard losing and going to play again after we dropped the match against Minnesota State,” said Brecht. “But we had to come back strong and a win was exactly what we needed.”
With the tournament complete, the Bulldogs will return to action this weekend at home as they begin conference play with a Friday match against Northern Michigan followed by a Sunday tilt against Michigan Tech to close out the weekend.
“Every match you play in the GLIAC is huge,” said Brandel-Wilhelm. “We just need to be more consistent in the early season if we’re going to get off to a good start in the conference.” n