Lourdes University is off to its best 10-match start in program history with a 7-3 record after posting a pair of victories on Saturday at the Rumpke Invitational hosted by Georgetown College held at Alumni Gym in Georgetown, Ky. The Gray Wolves opened the day with a 25-21, 23-25, 25-15, 25-14 win over Indiana-Southeast before defeating Xavier (La.) in the second match 27-25, 25-23, 25-23.
"Overall we had a great weekend," head coach Greg Reitz stated. "For us to come away with a 3-1 record on the weekend playing some good teams is a tremendous accomplishment."
The Gray Wolves got off to a quick start against Indiana-Southeast, racing out to an early 8-2 advantage. The Grenadiers fought back, utilizing a 10-3 run to take the lead. The set stayed tight until late when Ali Mass (Walbridge, Ohio/Tiffin Calvert H.S.) spearheaded a 5-0 run with a pair of aces that gave Lourdes a 23-18 edge and ultimately the first set.
The second set saw 10 ties and four lead changes. Lourdes fell behind 17-12 only to tie the set at 20. Three straight points by Indiana-Southeast though allowed the Grenadiers to tie the match at one set each.
Sets three and four were all Gray Wolves. Lourdes held Indiana-Southeast to a -.071 hitting percentage in the third and hit a match-high .256 in the fourth to earn the victory. A 7-1 run early in the third along with a 5-0 spurt to close the set gave the Gray Wolves a 3-1 advantage. A 9-2 run in the fourth broke the set open, giving Lourdes a 17-7 lead which the Gray Wolves would not relinquish.
Stephanie Richards (Toledo, Ohio/Perrysburg H.S.) led Lourdes with 17 kills and added 11 digs while Mass and Katie McKenty (Toledo, Ohio/Notre Dame H.S.) tallied 10 kills each. Allegra Recknagel (Lake Orion, Mich./Lake Orion H.S.) handed out 51 assists and added 22 digs while Michi Jimenez (Vega Baja, P.R./Juan Quirindongo Morell H.S.) added 15 more digs. Alyssa Pelish (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic H.S.) added 13 digs while Stef Comte (Toledo, Ohio/Notre Dame H.S.) registered six blocks to go along with nine kills.
Sara Schum led Indiana-Southeast (4-3) with 12 kills while Stephanie Bradshaw had 29 digs.
"We had some good, consistent performances from several players in both matches," Reitz added. "Pelish had a great weekend as did Richards and Comte."
The opening set against Xavier was also close throughout. A total of seven lead changes and 13 ties occurred in the set and neither team led by more than two until the Gold Nuggets built a 19-16 advantage. A 6-2 run by the Gray Wolves put them back in front and the teams traded points the rest of the way until Lourdes scored back-to-back points at the end to win the set.
Lourdes took a quick 12-7 lead in the second only to see Xavier fight back and close within one, 24-23 late. The Gray Wolves forced an attack error from the Gold Nuggets though to hold on and build a 2-0 lead in the match.
Xavier took a 13-8 lead in the third but again the Gray Wolves battled back. Five straight points off of Jimenez's serve tied the set at 15. The set was still tied at 23 before a kill from Keyonna Gregory (Holland, Ohio/Springfield H.S.) and a Gold Nugget attack error ended the match.
Richards hit .308 with a match-high 16 kills for the Gray Wolves while Jimenez had 13 digs and 10 assists. Pelish notched 14 digs.
Taylor Reuther led Xavier with 14 kills and 10 digs in the loss.
"We served and passed well all weekend which is a big key for us going into conference play," Reitz concluded. "We also steadily improved with our team chemistry which is something we've been talking about needs to be a signature of our program."
Lourdes, which has won six of its last seven matches, will open Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference play on Wednesday night, traveling to Livonia, Mich. to battle Madonna. First serve is slated for 7 p.m. at The Activities Center.