Photo Credit: University of Findlay Sports Info
FINDLAY, Ohio- For the second time this season, the Lake Erie College volleyball team took the University of Findlay Oilers to the limit in five sets. On Wednesday (Nov. 16) night, the Storm defeated the Oilers 3-2 (25-23, 17-25, 21-25, 25-21, 15-11), upsetting the #2 seed in the first round of the GLIAC Tournament.
The Storm's first postseason victory in program history and first GLIAC playoff game is the second victory this season over the Oilers this season.
Lake Erie raced out to a 4-1 lead in the first set before Findlay answered with a 5-2 run, tying the set six all. The Storm forced an Oiler timeout with a 6-2 spurt, with the Storm up 12-8. The Storm extended the lead to as many as five on an error. Findlay closed the gap to two but the Storm took game one 25-23.
Findlay opened the second set with a small lead that the Storm erased. Following a 6-6 tie off of a Brooke Peiffer (Lansing, Mich. / Holt) kill, Findlay regained control as the Oilers went on to win set two 25-17.
The Storm started the third set on the right foot with a 7-3 lead, taking advantage of some Oiler errors. After a timeout, Findlay regained composure and responded with a 9-5 run, tying the set at 12. The teams exchanged points before Findlay started to pull away late in the set. Findlay got a four point lead and gained a 2-1 set advantage with a 25-21 victory.
Neither team got an early lead in the fourth set as the teams swapped the lead six times before the score was 12-12. After a Lee Lee Barrett (Chattanooga, Tenn. / Ooltewah) kill, Findlay went on a 5-1 run to force a Lake Erie timeout. With a 17-13 deficit, Lake Erie didn't shutter as they tied the set with a 7-3 run. The Storm tied the set at 20, forcing an Oiler timeout. Lake Erie had two service aces during a 5-1 run to win the set 25-21.
Findlay got off to a 2-1 lead in the final set before Lake Erie called a timeout. The Oilers extended the lead to two at 11-9. With their season on the line, Lake Erie rallied one final time with a 6-0 run, clinching the upset. Lexi Lombardo (Olmsted Falls, Ohio / Olmsted Falls) and Gabrielle Woods (Elyria, Ohio / Brookside) combined on the final block of the night.
Pieffer and Bethany Fisher (Orrville, Ohio / Dalton) each had 18 kills in the match for the Storm. Barrett had eight kills on the offensive end. Alexis Thomas (Cincinnati, Ohio / Fairfield) had 50 set assists and 12 digs. She was one of four Storm players in double figure digs. Sidney Fletcher (Saline, Mich. / Saline) led the defense with 18 digs, while Pieffer added 14 and Jamie Riley (Prospect, Ohio / Olentangy) had ten.
As a team, the Storm had 18 block assists, totaling nine total blocks. Barrett had five block assists while Lombardo and Woods had four each.
The Storm will travel to Ferris State, the number one seed, to face #3 seed Ashland in the semifinals. The semifinal match will take place Saturday (Nov. 19) at 5:30 PM.