Big Rapids, Mich. - Former Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) counterpart Mercyhurst upset nationally 14th-ranked Ferris State on the Bulldogs' home floor in opening day action on Friday (Aug. 31) evening inside FSU's Ewigleben Sports Arena.
The visiting Lakers posted an impressive 3-2 win over the Bulldogs in their own Ferris State Invitational as FSU fell to 1-1 on the day.
Mercyhurst came out ready to play as the Lakers took the first set 25-22 and then followed it up with a 25-19 decision in the second frame. The Bulldogs responded with a 25-20 win in set three and posted a commanding 25-10 margin in the fourth frame to force the deciding set.
However, in the fifth set, the Lakers jumped out to a big early lead and stormed to a 15-7 triumph.
Mercyhurst, which was a GLIAC member until leaving for the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (GLIAC) two years ago, tallied 59 kills to only 43 for the Bulldogs and came up with 89 total digs to FSU's 66 digs.
Sarah Vick led a balanced Laker lineup with a match-best 13 kills and Becky Smith added 11 kills for Mercyhurst, which had a total of 17 players see action in the upset.
On the Bulldog side, Ferris State was paced by senior middle hitter Anne Sutton's 12 kills. Senior outside hitter Aly Brecht added 11 kills and 11 digs in a double-double effort.
FSU also received a team-high 18 digs from junior libero Brandie Merren, but her total was surpassed by Mercyhurst's Elyse Texido, who netted a match-high 35 digs.
Ferris State hit .192 for the match, which included a .444 figure in the fourth set. Meanwhile, Mercyhurst hit .109 overall , but posted a .407 clip in the deciding fifth frame.
Bulldog senior setter Samantha Fordyce totaled 37 assists and had 11 digs in helping the Bulldog cause while senior Brianna Grover had 10 digs. Sophomore Courtney Rehm contributed eight kills and eight digs while senior Angi Kent posted five kills and five block assists.
The Bulldogs held an 11-2 edge in total blocks, but that was offset by 10 service errors to only six for Mercyhurst. The Lakers also had nine aces to FSU's seven.
Kiera Rebert directed the Mercyhurst attack and finished with 41 assists from her setter position. She also had 10 digs. Amanda Balasko added 16 digs and nine kills.
The Bulldogs entered the event with a 1-0 mark after an impressive 3-0 shutout of Alderson-Broaddus (W.Va.) earlier in the day. FSU was ranked 14th nationally in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division II Preseason National Rankings and was the favorite to claim the GLIAC crown.
The win was only the second-ever for Mercyhurst against the Bulldogs as FSU fell to 15-2 all-time versus the Lakers. It was also the Bulldogs' first loss versus Mercyhurst in Big Rapids in series history (8-1).
FSU will try to get back on the winning track as action continues in the Ferris State Invitational on Saturday (Sept. 1) at the Ewigleben Sports Complex. FSU hosts West Virginia State at 1 p.m. (ET) before facing Clarion (Pa.) in a 5 p.m. (ET) tilt to round out the two-day event.
A total of nine teams are taking part in the annual event with 18 matches being contested on two courts. Action resumes on Saturday morning at 9 a.m. (ET).