Volleyball tops Walsh, marches to seventh-straight win, 13-8 record

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The SVSU volleyball team continued its mid-season hot streak on Saturday, beating Walsh in four sets (25-22, 25-22, 23-25, 25-18) and pushing their overall record on the season to 13-8 with a 6-4 record in GLIAC play.

Saturday’s victory marked the Cardinals’ seventh victory in a row, and the team has yet to lose in the month of October.

SVSU continues to rise in the GLIAC standings and currently sits in fourth place along with Michigan Tech and Grand Valley.

“We have really clicked as a team during this winning streak,” senior Emily Nieman said. “Also, our blocking and hitting has taken that next step up and has been consistent. I think we are all on the same page now and have the same vision together.”

SVSU jumped out to a quick two-set lead before falling in the third set, but charged past Walsh in the fourth set to take the match.

Even though the Cardinals struggled a bit defensively in Saturday’s match, the offense was able to get the job done and pull it out in the close sets.

As Nieman mentioned, SVSU’s blocking and hitting have substantially improved over the course of the season. The Cardinals hit at a clip of .218 throughout the match and collected nine blocks at the net compared to the four blocks that Walsh tallied. Even with this solid showing, head coach Will Stanton still sees room for improvement.

“We passed well and had some effective offense,” Stanton said. “However, our blocking and defense were not where they needed to be. I also felt that we served well and got them in some tough situations, but then we were not able to take advantage of those situations and score as effectively as we should.”

Offensively, the Cardinals were led by a balanced, senior-laden attack that featured four players with double-digit kills.

Senior Andrea Brigham led the offensive attack with 15 kills, while senior Kaylee Schmitt finished just behind her with 13 kills and a .355 hitting percentage in the match.

Senior Kennedy Marker posted a .412 hitting percentage and added 11 kills of her own. Nieman led SVSU with 21 digs in the match.

The team now heads back on the road to close out the month of October with matches against Hillsdale and Northwood.

“We feel that we are starting to play well now and that if we can continue to complete hard, we should be able to accomplish some of the goals we set for ourselves early in the season,” Stanton said.

With the hot streak currently in full swing, the team recognizes that there is still a long and challenging road ahead of them.

“We can’t take any team lightly in this conference and have a tough schedule ahead of us,” Brigham said. “I am confident that if we play together and bring energy each game from here on out, we will be tough to beat.”