Big Rapids, Mich. - The nationally 11th-ranked Ferris State University women's volleyball team saw its 11-match winning streak come to an end on Friday night (Oct. 14) as the Bulldogs dropped a heartbreaking 3-2 decision to 13th-ranked Northern Kentucky in the 2011 Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC)/Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Crossover Tournament in Aurora, Ill.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 2-1 edge in the match, but NKU battled back to win the final two sets, including a thrilling 19-17 victory in the final fifth set. The Norse were 20-25, 25-21, 14-25, 26-24 and 19-17 winners in the showdown between top 25 programs at the Great Lakes Center.
With the setback, Ferris State fell to 16-2 overall this campaign while NKU improved to 17-2 overall on the year. The loss was FSU's first in more than a month since a 3-2 setback at Northern Michigan on Sept. 11.
FSU entered the match as the top-seeded team on the GLIAC side with Northern Kentucky seeded second among the GLVC schools in the 32-team crossover tournament.
The Bulldogs had four players reach double-figures in kills on the night and were led by senior outside hitter Ashley Huntey (Stanwood/Morley-Stanwood), who totaled a match-high tying 18 kills with 17 digs in a double-double performance.
FSU also received 17 kills from junior middle hitter Anne Sutton (Grand Rapids/Northview) with freeshman middle hitter Courtney Rehm (Portage/Central) recording 16 kills and junior outside hitter Aly Brecht (Alma) chipping in with 11 kills.
Senior libero Lisa Tobiczyk (Marysville) tallied a team-high 22 digs, Huntey nettted 17 digs, Brecht had 14 digs and sophomore defensive specialist Brandie Merren (Hopkins) finished with 10 digs. The Bulldogs also received eight digs to go with 58 assists from junior setter Samantha Fordyce (DeWitt).
On the opposite side, Northern Kentucky had five players record 10 kills or more and the Norse were paced by Sarah Drennen's match-high tying 18 kills. Kylee Tarantino totaled 25 digs and Jenna Schreiver compiled 49 assists for NKU.
Ferris State posted a .287 attack percentage in comparison to NKU's .254 showing. However, Northern Kentucky recorded 75 kills to only 65 for FSU.
The Bulldogs totaled nine blocks and six service aces while Northern Kentucky managed eight blocks and five aces. FSU was hampered by eight service errors to only one for the Norse.
The final fifth set featured five lead changes and the score was tied 12 times. Overall, the five-set match was tied 34 times and the lead changed hands 14 times in the evening.
Ferris State, which beat Lewis (Ill.) by a 3-1 score in Friday's first match, will wrap up play in the Mizuno GLVC/GLIAC Crossover Tournament on Saturday (Oct. 15) against Missouri S&T with match time set for 2 p.m. (ET) in Aurora, Ill.