Hot off winning the GLIAC Tournament, the No. 1 seed Ferris State women’s volleyball team defeated the No. 8 seed Truman Bulldogs (18-17) in the opening round of the NCAA Division II Volleyball Tournament in three straight sets of 25-19, 25-22 and 25-19.
The opening set saw Ferris jump out to a 6-1 lead before Truman started to close the gap. A sequence of a service ace and three straight attack errors by Truman was capped off with a kill by Ferris junior outside hitter Ayanna Buckley. That saw FSU notch six straight points and the 21-14 lead. Truman was unable to recover and Ferris won the set with another Buckley kill.
Following both teams switching sides for the second set, they continued to trade one-point leads. Truman looked to possibly be in control, up 22-20 when it fell apart by a combination of attack errors, a bad set and a kill from Ferris freshman outside hitter Allyson Cappel which allowed Ferris to win the set 25-22.
The third set saw Ferris attack aggressively and they never trailed after being down 2-1. As it continued, Truman was never able to break down Ferris’ defense to get back within striking distance.
“I thought Truman played really well. They came out strong and just kept hitting the ball” Ferris State women’s volleyball head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm said following the the win. “I thought we had a hard time just getting into the rhythm of our defense against their offense.”
A key factor in the win for Ferris was the play of senior setter Stephanie Sikorski. She lead the team in assists with 34.
“Thought Stephanie did a good job of working our offense around so that we were able to generate a few kills to counteract the offense they had coming at us” Coach Brandel-Wilhelm said.
Sikorski was also a scoring threat that helped throw Truman off-balance. She recorded three kills with misdirections, looking like she was setting but instead quickly hooking the ball over the net for the kill.
“I would say that some of it is just kind of feeling, sensing the other team, what’s open and what you know about their defense beforehand. It’s just putting it where they are not” Sikorski said.
Leading Ferris in scoring was Buckley with 11 kills, Cappel had 9 and junior middle hitter Maria Kronner with six. Junior libero Lauren Reminga had a team high 20 digs.
Ferris State next takes on a familiar foe in Saginaw Valley State University tonight at 7:30 p.m. in Wink Arena. The SVSU Cardinals (Midwest Region fifth seed) defeated Rockhurst (fourth seed) last night 3-0.
This is will be the third time these two teams have faced each other this year with Ferris winning the previous two matches 3-0 and 3-1.