BIG RAPIDS, Mich. - After pushing the #2 seed Findlay to the limit in the first round, the Lake Erie College volleyball team gave the #3 seed Ashland a scare in the GLIAC Semifinals on Saturday (Nov. 19).
The Storm opened a 2-0 lead before the Eagles came back for a 3-2 (25-23, 32-30, 23-25, 19-25, 12-15) win, advancing the Eagles to the GLIAC title game. For the season, Lake Erie finished with a 19-16 overall record.
Ashland opened the first set with five straight points before Lake Erie tied the set with a 6-1 run. After the set was tied 6-6, neither team led by more than two points until late in the set. The Eagles took the lead at 20-19 and the Storm ended the set on a 6-3 run, winning 25-23.
The Eagles jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the second set, and just like the first set, Lake Erie rallied to tie it at six all. With the set tied 12-12, Lake Erie opened a four point lead with a 6-2 run. The teams went back and forth, forcing extra points as Ashland tied the set at 25. Brooke Peiffer (Lansing, Mich. / Holt) and All-GLIAC Second Team member Lee Lee Barrett (Chattanooga, Tenn. / Ooltewah) ended the set, 32-30 in favor of the Storm with consecutive kills.
Like the two sets prior, Ashland led early and Lake Erie tied it up at six. Ashland took a tied set at nine, and went on an 8-1 run to open a seven point lead in the third set. A Peiffer kill capped an 11-4 run, tying the game at 21-21. Ashland won the set 25-23, halting the Storm's momentum in the third set.
The Storm opened with a 3-1 lead before Ashland scored 11 straight points for a 12-3 lead. Lake Erie continued to fight and close the lead to two points at 16-14. Ashland rebounded from the run and pulled away to win the set by six 25-19.
Lake Erie found themselves fighting for their season in the fifth set. The Storm scored the first point on a Lexi Lombardo (Olmsted Falls, Ohio / Olmsted Falls) before Ashland took the lead. The Eagles opened an 11-7 lead, forcing a Lake Erie timeout. A 5-1 Storm run following the timeout, tied the set at 12. Ashland scored the final three points to seal the win.
The Storm's offense was led by Peiffer, who had 17 kills. Bethany Fisher (Orrville, Ohio / Dalton) was second on the team with 14 kills in the match. Barrett and Lombardo added 13 and 12 kills, respectively. Alexis Thomas (Cincinnati, Ohio / Fairfield) led the defense with 28 digs and she also had 53 set assists. Sidney Fletcher (Saline, Mich. / Saline), who was named All-GLIAC Honorable Mention pre-game, had 26 digs on defense.