Ferris’ season ended following a re-match loss to Indianapolis during the NCAA Division II Regional Tournament semi-finals.
The Bulldogs lost earlier this year to Indianapolis 3-1.
“We had some big shoes to fill, and I thought we worked very hard to define ourselves as a team and to reach our potential,” Ferris Coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm said.
The Lady Bulldogs lost the first two sets by the slimmest of margins to the top-seeded University of Indianapolis. The opponent was able to close any chance of a comeback, as Ferris lost the third set 25-17, cementing a 3-0 loss.
“We definitely grew as a team throughout the season, and I have no doubt in my mind that we peaked at a good time,” senior setter Samantha Fordyce said.
The tournament field was littered with members of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, as they represented five of the eight total teams.
The nationally 19th ranked University of Indianapolis went on to win the Midwest Regional Championship the following day, as they defeated Hillsdale College.
The tournament victors did not lose a single set on their home floor. Indianapolis will move on to compete in the Elite Eight this week.
Senior Anne Sutton, Ferris’ leading scorer, co-led the Bulldogs with senior outside hitter Aly Brecht, massing 10 kills each. Fordyce added to her impressive assist statistics with 30 in the match, giving her more than 1,100 assists in the 2012 season.
To earn a spot in the semi-final, fifth-seeded Ferris earned a 3-1 set victory over fourth- seeded Lewis University. Ferris concluded the season with a 24-8 overall record.
This year marked the Bulldogs’ 17th trip to the NCAA Division II Regional Tournament, and Ferris etched its 15th consecutive winning season under Brandel-Wilhelm’s direction.
Sutton and Fordyce were voted on the 2012 Regional All-Tournament Team from coaches amongst the tournament. Also, five Lady Bulldogs were selected to various All-GLIAC teams this year including Fordyce, Sutton, sophomore middle hitter Courtney Rehm, Brecht and junior libero Brandie Merren.
Fordyce now ranks third all-time in assists in school history with over 4,500. Sutton led the Bulldogs in kills and blocks, with 346 and 88 respectively. Rehm, who will be returning for her junior year in 2013, was second on the team in kills and in digs after adapting to a new position this year.
Ferris has six seniors who have concluded their eligibility and will not return next season.
“I think Rehm and Merren are going to be expected to step into some leadership roles since they are two big returning players, but we also have some amazing freshmen and a transfer or two who may step into the leadership roles,” Fordyce said.
Two of the up and coming freshmen include middle hitter Megan Vander Meer and outside hitter DeeDee Dowd. The young guns made a significant contribution this year as Vander Meer tallied the fourth most blocks on the Bulldog squad, and Dowd was seventh on the team in kills.
The coaching staff has committed to four incoming freshmen and two transfer student-athletes to bolster the
team next season.