The adage of it's not how you start but how you finish appropriately summarized the Ferris State University women's volleyball team's Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) match performance as Bulldogs dropped a hard-fought 3-2 decision to Wayne State Saturday (Sept. 25) afternoon at WSU's Matthaei Center in Detroit, Mich. The Bulldogs and Warriors battled back and forth with FSU winning the opening set before WSU posted a 15-12 fifth-set win to earn the victory.
The five-set loss (25-17, 17-25, 19-25, 25-22, 12-15) drops Ferris State's season record to 6-5 overall and 3-4 in the GLIAC's North Division. By virtue of the win, Wayne State improves to 7-4 overall and 5-2 in the GLIAC South Division to date.
Senior middle hitter Arielle Goodson (Grand Rapids/Central) and junior outside hitter Ashley Huntey (Stanwood/Morley-Stanwood) led the way for Ferris State. Goodson compiled her ninth double-digit kills outing this fall with a team-high 17 total while Huntey's 11 kills marked her third consecutive performance in double figures. Sophomore outside hitter Aly Brecht (Alma) hammered nine kills and sophomore middle hitter Anne Sutton (Grand Rapids/Northview) added eight kills on 14 hitting opportunities en route to .357 hitting efficiency.
Ferris State also received solid efforts from sophomore setter Samanatha Fordyce (DeWitt) and junior libero Lisa Tobiczyk (Marysville). Fordyce distributed a match-best 47 assists in directing the Bulldog offense, which finished with a .158 hitting percentage. She also chipped in with 10 digs and hit .500 with five kills in eight attempts. Tobiczyk was a workhouse on the defensive end as she racked up a match-leading 28 digs. Senior libero Dana Ruttle (Reed City) supplied seven digs for the Bulldogs in the five-set encounter. Arielle Goodson supported her 17 kills with a squad-most five blocks on the day, which included two blocks solos.
Wayne State ended the league match with a 10-7 advantage in blocks, digs (67-59), and kills (56-53), while Ferris State claimed a 9-4 edge in service aces. The Warriors, who compiled a .217 team hitting percentage, were paced offensively by Katarzyna Sak and Madie Kent with 18 and 11 kills, respectively. Defensively, four WSU players had double digits in digs as Cydney Biessel's 15 was tops among the Warriors.
A kill by Anne Sutton marked the winning point in Ferris State's 25-17 opening-set victory as the Bulldogs outhit Wayne State, .206 to .118 in the set. The score was tied seven times before the Bulldogs took the lead for good with five unanswered points (15-10) although the Warriors were able to close the gap at 18-16. FSU then proceeded to tally the next six points to go up 24-16 before closing out the set.
Wayne State evened the match at 1-1 by prevailing 25-17 in set two as the Warriors hit .233 in comparison to the Bulldogs' .000 percentage. Ferris trimmed WSU's advantage to five points (22-17) in the late stages, but the Warriors accounted for all of the next three points.
In set three, both teams turned in their most productive performances hitting efficiency wise as Wayne State generated a .342 success rate of its attempts while Ferris State compiled a respectable .229 hitting efficiency. Following an 8-8 tie, the hosts scored two consecutive points and would hold the upper hand the rest of the way. An Arielle Goodson kill following a FSU timeout closed the gap to two points (17-15), but the Bulldogs were unable to get any closer in the set.
Ferris State came back to capture the fourth set as the Bulldogs broke a 22-all deadlock by netting three straight points. A WSU service error put FSU ahead in the rally-scoring format and an attack error increased the lead to 24-22 prompting a Warriors' timeout. Ferris, which posted a .186 attack percentage in the fourth set, sent the match into a deciding fifth set as Samantha Fordyce put one down on a Lisa Tobiczyk set.
The determining fifth set began with Ferris State garnering the first point but Wayne State, which produced a .263 hitting proficiency mark to the Bulldogs' .100, went on a 10-5 scoring spurt to claim an 11-6 advantage. Try as they might, FSU gradually sliced into the Warriors' lead to draw within three points at 14-11. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs had too much ground to make up as a service ace proceeded by a kill from the Wayne State side ended any aspirations of a comeback.
FSU will seek to snap its two-match losing string this Sunday (Sept. 26) as the Bulldogs conclude their conference six-match road swing against the Findlay Oilers in Findlay, Ohio. A 2 p.m. (EDT) start is scheduled at UF's Croy Gymnasium.