Pictured are (left) Ellie Harp, Sierra Smith, and Grace Woolsey celebrating a point for Grace
Grace’s volleyball team rebounded from two losses on Friday to win twice on Saturday afternoon at the Davenport Tournament.
The Lady Lancers (20-7) earned their 20th victory for the fourth straight season with a sweep of St. Xavier and a 3-2 thriller over St. Ambrose.
“We couldn’t have had a better finish to a tough weekend. I’m so proud of the way the team persevered through the changes, and I’m glad we were able to pull out two victories today,” said Grace head coach Andria Harshman. “We utilized some players from our bench to give us fresh legs, and we ended up giving St. Ambrose a run because of it.”
Despite sweeping St. Xavier in Saturday’s opening match, Grace’s volleyball team had anything but an easy time against the Cougars.
Grace had a slight lead against St. Xavier for the majority of the first set, holding a comfortable 22-17 lead in the final stages. But the Cougars made a furious rally to trim Grace’s lead to one at 23-22. The Lady Lancers finished the opening win 25-23 with kills by Kaitlin Kerrigan and Grace Woolsey.
The second set was a memorable one. Grace again led for much of the game, but a late 5-0 spurt from St. Xavier swung momentum back to the Cougars and tied the score at 19-19. The Cougars had set point at 24-22, but an attack error by St. Xavier and a service ace from Annie Salazar sent the game into extra points. The score battled back and forth into the 30s before a kill from Taylor Baird and a block from Kerrigan won the game 33-31.
The third set proved to be the last as Grace’s offense (14 kills, 2 errors) was efficient in a 25-14 victory. For the match, Ellie Harp impressed from the setter position with 36 assists, 10 kills, 5 digs and 3 block assists. She led Grace to an attack percentage of .286.
Kerrigan led all players with 14 kills on a .481 percentage, Calah Kruse finished with nine kills and 13 digs, and Tori Bontrager had eight kills and three block assists. Woolsey tallied eight kills, and Salazar chipped in 12 digs and two aces.
Against St. Ambrose, Grace pulled out a 26-24 win in the opener. The Lady Lancers were trailing 24-23 but rallied thanks to a kill from Grace Woolsey and a block point from Woolsey and Taylor Baird.
Grace quickly lost their advantage, however, with 25-19 and 25-18 defeats in the next two sets. The fourth set was a definitive win for the Lady Lancers as Grace blasted 15 kills in a 25-15 win. Grace used an 11-1 run to charge away from St. Ambrose.
In the definitive fifth set, Grace jumped ahead early with an 8-3 advantage thanks to two kills by Sierra Smith. St. Ambrose fought back to within one point at 12-11, but Grace made plays down the stretch. The final point in Grace’s 15-13 win came on a block by Kaitlin Kerrigan and Kari Feddema.
Kerrigan was a force to be reckoned with in the match, pounding out 18 kills to lead Grace. Calah Kruse had a double-double of 13 kills and 10 digs, and Ellie Harp just missed a triple-double with 46 assists, 17 digs and 8 kills, also adding 4 service aces and 2 block assists.
Sara Miller tied a career-high with 20 digs, Woolsey added 11 kills, 1 solo block and 6 block assists, and Hannah Clemmons finished with 17 digs.
The Lady Lancers return to the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center for two home matches next week. Grace will host rival Taylor at 7 p.m. on Wednesday before another home game on Friday night against Huntington.