The Northwood University volleyball team clinched the GLIAC Championship outright Friday night (November 9) with a 3-1 win at Grand Valley State. Set scores were 19-25, 25-18, 25-20, 25-7.
The Championship is Northwood's first since 2001. The victory also clinched home-court for the Timberwolves throughout the upcoming GLIAC Tournament.
Northwood improves to 23-5 overall, 17-0 in the GLIAC. Grand Valley State falls to 22-6 overall, 12-5 in the GLIAC.
Both teams struggled offensively in the first set – GVSU (7-7-29) and NU (11-11-35) each hit .000 in the opening frame. The Lakers took a 1-0 thanks in large part to serving. Northwood had zero aces and four service errors, while GVSU had three aces and no errors.
The rest of the match was a different story, starting with the second set. Northwood hit .257 (13-4-35) and had five aces to go with two errors. GVSU finished the second at .138 (9-4-38) and had zero aces and two errors.
Northwood continued to control play in the third set. The Lakers jumped out to a 4-1 lead, but Northwood responded by scoring nine of the next 11 points to go up 10-6. The Lakers got no closer than three points the rest of the way. NU hit .297 (16-5-37) while holding GVSU to a .189 mark (11-3-37).
Needing one more set to earn the GLIAC title, the Timberwolves dominated the fourth from start to finish. Leading 2-1 early, the Timberwolves scored eight straight points to go up 10-1. Then after the Lakers scored a point to make it 10-2, Northwood registered another big run. The Timberwolves scored nine straight points to make the score 19-2. NU would go on to win 25-7, thanks in large part to holding GVSU without a kill in the final set (0-6-23).
For the match, Northwood finished with a .235 attack percentage (53-22-132), compared to a .047 mark for the Lakers (27-21-127). Northwood finished with a 67-51 edge in digs and a 9-5 advantage in aces.
Three Timberwolves with double-figure kill totals, led by Juliia Pakhomenko (Donetsk, Ukraine), who finished with 16 kills and 11 digs. Zina Liubymova (Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine) added 15 kills, 22 digs and three aces. Kristin Perschon (Schaumburg, Ill. / Conant) had 11 kills, four blocks and a .474 attack percentage (11-2-19). Jordan Dunn (Bowling Green, Ohio) registered 43 assists, 14 digs and two blocks.
Northwood will finish the regular season with a match at Ferris State Saturday afternoon (November 10). First serve is set for 3 p.m.