Lourdes University dropped its opening match Rio Grande but rebounded to defeat Lawrence Tech on Friday at Tam-o-Shanter in the opening day of the Gray Wolf Invitational. The Gray Wolves fell to the Red Storm 25-17, 22-25, 26-24, 25-15 before rebounding in the evening to defeat the Blue Devils 25-14, 25-14, 22-25, 26-24.
"It was nice to get a win against a conference opponent that we will see again later in the season," head coach Greg Reitz stated following the Lawrence Tech match. "We did some good things to put pressure on them for most of the match."
The Gray Wolves hit .242 for the contest, their second best hitting percentage of the year, including a .457 rate over the first two sets. Katie Bartlett (Toledo, Ohio/Northview H.S.) and Katie McKenty (Toledo, Ohio/Notre Dame H.S.) led Lourdes with 12 kills each, with Bartlett hitting a team-high .360. Andrea Brown (Northwood, Ohio/Northwood H.S.) added 11 kills while hitting .348 and Shelby Schuster (Sylvania, Ohio/Southview H.S.) added 11 kills hitting at a .333 rate.
"We got good offensive production in the match," Reitz added. "This was our best attacking match of the year, getting balanced production."
Lourdes jumped out to an early lead in the contest, hitting a blistering .542 in the opening set. An 8-2 run to start the match, and another late 7-2 run blew the set open for the Gray Wolves. McKenty and Schuster both tallied five kills as Lourdes tallied 16 for the set.
Set two saw the Gray Wolves take advantage of 10 attack errors by the Blue Devils, including four blocks, three by both Brown and Michi Jimenez (Vega Baja, P.R./Juan Quirindongo Morell H.S.). Lourdes again raced out to an early lead, 6-1, and another 8-1 run midway through allowed the hosts to take control.
"The first two sets were by far our best offensive production of the season," Reitz stated. "We had only five errors in the two sets."
Lawrence Tech extended the match with a win in set three, coming from behind late. Lourdes led 18-17 and the set was tied at 20 before the Blue Devils scored five of the final seven points.
Lourdes built a 17-9 lead in set four before withstanding a late charge by the Blue Devils. Lawrence tech went on an 8-2 run to close within two, 19-17, and eventually tied the set at 22. Back-to-back kills by Brown though allowed the Gray Wolves to emerge victorious.
"We're still making errors at the wrong time," Reitz commented. "We're improving but still making some of the same errors we've been making all year."
Jimenez handed out 45 assists in the victory while added 11 digs defensively. Kirstin Kirk (Westland, Mich./John Glenn H.S.) led the Gray Wolves with 12 digs while Alyssa Pelish (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic H.S.) added 11 digs as well.
Kasey Clark led Lawrence Teck (7-9) with 17 kills, hitting .361 for the match.
In the opening match of the tournament, Rio Grande was the team hitting well, at a .236 clip including a .391 mark in set four, while holding Lourdes to just .071 hitting.
With the Gray Wolves leading 10-8 in set one, the Red Storm finished the match with a 17-7 run to take an early lead. Lourdes fought back in set two, pulling out a set which saw 13 ties in it.
"We showed we could compete with them but didn't do it for enough of the match," Reitz stated. "We made more errors than our opponent and didn't give ourselves a chance to win. We didn't have put pressure on them with our serve."
Lourdes again led late in set three, 21-19, but a 7-3 spurt by the visitors allowed Rio Grande to post the victory in extra points. The Red Storm closed the match with an 8-2 run in set four after the Gray Wolves were within 17-13.
Bartlett led Lourdes with 14 kills while McKenty added 12 kills and 12 digs. Jimenez handed out 39 assists and led the Gray Wolves with 14 digs in the loss.
Whitney Smith led Rio Grande (6-5) with 19 kills, hitting .410 for the match while adding 19 digs. Nicole Ogg had a match-high 22 digs for the Red Storm.
Lourdes (6-11) will return to action on Saturday afternoon to close out play at their annual home tournament. The Gray Wolves will face Siena Heights at 4 p.m. before battling Ohio State-Marion at 6 p.m. at Tam-o-Shanter.