Bulldogs Take 3-2 Conference Thriller From Ashland
History repeated itself in Ferris State University women's volleyball contest versus Ashland this Friday (Oct. 8) as the Bulldogs were forced to play a fifth set against the Eagles for the second year in a row and were victorious by a 3-2 score again (27-29, 25-21, 25-23, 27-29, 15-9) in a highly-competitive Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) match at FSU's Ewigleben Arena in Big Rapids, Mich.
Ferris State, which is now 9-6 overall and 6-5 in the GLIAC's North Division this season, won two of the opening three sets but Ashland came back in the fourth set with a thrilling 29-27 decision in extending the match to a deciding fifth set.
The outcome was reminisicent of last season's thriller at Ferris State when the Bulldogs won 16-14 in the decisive fifth set after Ashland jumped out to a 2-0 lead.
The Bulldogs relied on productive hitting in the final set with a .333 attack percentage while FSU defense held the Eagles in check as the visitors registered a .136 hitting percentage. Ferris State snapped all 3-3 tie by scoring the next four points and held a 10-5 lead following a kill by sophomore middle hitter Anne Sutton (Grand Rapids/Northview). Ashland cut the deficit to three points (11-8) on a FSU attack error, but could get no closer as the Bulldogs netted the next two points and won the set on senior middle hitter Arielle Goodson's (Grand Rapids/Central) team-leading 26th kill on the night. The 6-2 middle hitter ended the fifth set with a squad-best six kills in 10 attack opportunities.
Goodson, an All-America candidate, certainly added support to potential lofty post-season recognition with her 26-kill performance on 47 attack attempts for a .404 percentage. She also added five digs and a pair of block assists in the contest. Moreover, Goodson became the 17th individual in Ferris State history to attain 1,000 career kills and currently occupies 17th place with a 1,012 career output. Incidentally in the match against Ashland last season, former Bulldog standout and current FSU student assistant coach Kristy Gilchrist reached the 1,000-kills plateau.
Joining her with double-figure kill totals were junior outside hitter Ashley Huntey (Stanwood/Morley-Stanwood) and Anne Sutton as the two finished with 14 and 13, respectively. Sutton also recorded a .393 hitting percentage for Ferris State, which concluded the five-set outing hitting at a .194 clip while Ashland posted a .163 hitting efficiency mark. Sophomore setter Samantha Fordyce (DeWitt) keyed the Bulldog offense with a match-leading 55 assists.
The Bulldogs had a productive night in the backcourt as well with four players garnering double digits in digs. Junior libero Lisa Tobiczyk's (Marysville) 20 digs were tops for Ferris State. which accumulated a 78-67 digs margin over Ashland. Senior libero Dana Ruttle (Reed City) contributed 17 digs while two individuals, Ashley Huntey and sophomore outside hitter Aly Brecht (Alma) dug up 14 opposition attack attempts apiece.
Both teams turned in solid efforts at the net with seven total team blocks apiece. Anne Sutton's five block assists led the way for Ferris State while Samantha Fordyce added two block assists as part of the Bulldogs' 14-team total.
Ferris State will have little time to savor the victory as the Bulldogs return to the floor this Saturday (Oct. 9) for a conference matchup with the Lake Erie Storm in Big Rapids. The first serve will commence at 12 p.m. (EDT) in what represents the first time each school has faced one another.