For the second consecutive match, and third time in four contests, Lourdes dropped a five-set decision on Saturday afternoon, falling to Aquinas 25-15, 22-25, 21-25, 25-16, 15-10 inside of the Sturrus Sports & Fitness Center in Grand Rapids, Mich.
“This was another tough match for this group,” head coach Greg Reitz said afterwards. “We battled very well at times, we dictated the flow of the match at times, and then there were times that we didn’t. It is hard to win close matches when we don’t make the little plays all of the time. We will get back to work to try to improve so we have a better result on Wednesday.”
The Saints came out quickly, hitting .447 with 22 kills in the opening set and never trailed. Lourdes did not make an attack error in the frame, and hit .290 as a team, but managed just nine kills.
In the second the Gray Wolves bounced back. Trailing 9-4 early, Lourdes scored six of the next seven points to pull even, one of 11 ties in the set. Tied at 22, Tylar Roberson (Elkhart, Ind./Central H.S.) put down a kill to put Lourdes in front and Aquinas committed back-to-back errors to end the set.
Lourdes finished the third set strong. Trailing 21-19, the Gray Wolves scored the final six points to take a 2-1 lead in the match, despite just nine kills in the stanza.
Aquinas led wire-to-wire in the fourth, hitting .343 while limiting Lourdes to .000 hitting with just eight kills. The Saints used an 11-5 run to break the set open, forcing the decisive set.
The Saints jumped out to a 10-4 lead in the fifth before Lourdes scored six straight points to pull even. Aquinas responded with five points of their own though to close out the match.
Roberson led Lourdes with 13 kills while Kristin Murrell (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic H.S.) added nine more while hitting .444. Jami Markus (Oregon, Ohio/Central Catholic H.S.) handed out a team-high 19 assists as the Gray Wolves hit just .171 as a team.
Niki Polce (New Boston, Mich./Huron H.S.) registered 20 digs while Angelica Dippold (Louisville, Ky./Mercy Academy) added 17 more as the Gray Wolves and Saints each finished with 69 digs for the match.
Kristin Danielson and Jaclyn Rozell had 18 kills each for Aquinas (28-6, 15-3 WHAC) while Payton Klein added 16 kills and hit .640. Stephanie Chenlo handed out 61 assists for the Saints as the team swung at a .285 clip. Defensively, Karly Morris led Aquinas with 31 digs.
Lourdes (16-7, 13-5) returns home on Wednesday evening looking to snap its five-match losing skid, as the Gray Wolves host Rochester (Mich.). First serve is set for 7:30 p.m. inside the Russell J. Ebeid Recreation Center.