Ferris State Drops Its Conference Opener In Four-Set Match

Danielle Hamilton and the Bulldogs were unable to overcome a 2-0 deficit in a league-opening home loss to Northern Michigan.  (Photo by Sandy Gholston)
Danielle Hamilton and the Bulldogs were unable to overcome a 2-0 deficit in a league-opening home loss to Northern Michigan. (Photo by Sandy Gholston)

The Ferris State University women's volleyball team had high hopes of starting Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) action this Friday (Sept. 10) night on a winning note, but the visiting Northern Michigan Wildcats were the ones who came away victorious in a 3-1 (25-15, 25-20, 23-25, 25-23) triumph over the Bulldogs at FSU's Ewigleben Sports Arena in Big Rapids, Mich.  

With the loss, the Bulldogs fall to 3-2 overall and 0-1 in the conference.  Northern Michigan on the other hand upped its season record to 5-0 and is currently 1-0 in GLIAC match play.

In set one, Northern Michigan went on a 14-5 scoring run and never look back as the Wildcats held a comfortable lead for the remainder.  The Bulldogs were held to a -.130 hitting percentage while NMU registered a .200 attack success rate.

Ferris State greatly improved its hitting proficiency in the second set as the Bulldogs recorded a .214 hitting percentage with 12 kills in 28 opportunities.  The set featured nine ties and four lead changes before the 'Cats went up 2-0 in the conference-opening encounter by reeling off three of the last four points.

In set three, the score was close all of the way as evidenced by 10 ties and the lead exchanging sides seven times.  A kill by junior outside hitter Ashley Huntey (Stanwood/Morley-Stanwood) drew Ferris State into a 22-all deadlock before sophmore middle hitter Anne Sutton's (Grand Rapids/Northview) kill put the host team ahead 23-22.  NMU would come right back to tie the set on a kill before the Bulldogs came right back as Huntey hammered the ball to put FSU up 24-23.  A pair of block assists by Sutton and junior middle hitter Mallory Kopa (Marysville) on a Northern Michigan attack wrapped up the set in favor of Ferris State.  FSU produced a .256 hitting percentage for the third set.

In the fourth and what proved the match's final set, the two GLIAC North Division foes challenged one another as 10 tied scores along with four lead changes occurred in the stanza.  Senior middle hitter Arielle Goodson (Grand Rapids/Central), who would finish the match with a team-high 15 kills and a .314 hitting percentage, netted one of her kills to tie the set at 23-apiece.  Unfortunately for Ferris State, the next two plays went in favor of Northern as the Wildcats tallied back-to-back kills to end any hopes of a Bulldog comeback.

For Ferris State, Ashley Huntey racked up nine kills as the Bulldogs hit for a .150 efficiency while Northern Michigan was at .154 and led by Ana Lopes' match-leading 16 kills.  Sophomore setter Samantha Fordyce (DeWitt) distributed a match-high 33 assists and chipped in with seven digs.  Two FSU players, Ashley Huntey and junior libero Lisa Tobiczyk (Marysville) totaled double digits in digs with 15 and 13, respectively.  For Huntey, her digs output led all individuals in the match.

Ferris State continues conference home action this Sunday (Sept. 12) afternoon as the Michigan Tech Huskies pay a visit to the Ewigleben Sports Arena in Big Rapids.  Opening serve is slated for 2 p.m. (EDT). 

NOTES: Ferris State is now 14-7 (.667) in conference openers with its loss to Northern Michigan, but still has prevailed in 10 of the its last 13 GLIAC-opening encounters . . . Arielle Goodson notched one block solo in the match to tie Alaina Olds (1999-02; 84 career block solos) for fifth place on the program's all-time leaders chart . . . The 2010 season match-high 15 digs compiled by Ashley Huntey in tonight's tilt represented the 32nd time in which she has dug up double-digit totals in a single match.