Score: No. 15 Ferris State 3, Saginaw Valley 0 | NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Semifinals
Records: FSU (30-5) | SVSU (20-12)
Location: Wink Arena - Big Rapids, Mich.
BIG RAPIDS, Mich. - Competing in the NCAA Round of 32 for the first time since the 2009 season, the SVSU volleyball team faced a familiar foe in Ferris State University on Friday (Dec. 2) night in the Midwest Regional Semifinals. In what was a closely-contested match, the Cardinals couldn't stave off a pair of Bulldog comebacks and ended up falling to the No. 1 overall seed in the region by a 3-0 count.
The opening set was close throughout and began that way until the Cardinals took a 14-9 advantage after Kills by Tamara Heller, Andrea Brigham and Kaylee Schmitt. SVSU had another five point lead with the score 16-11 but that was as far ahead as either team would get the rest of the way. After another Schmitt kill put the visitors up 22-18, Ferris notched five straight points to take a 23-18 lead. A Kennedy Marker kill knotted the score at 23-23 for Saginaw Valley but the Bulldogs responded with two straight kills to take the first set 25-23 for a 1-0 lead.
In the second, Ferris State got off to a hot start and bulit an 11-point lead with the score 16-5. After trailing 21-14, the Cardinals notched three straight points via kills from Brigham, Leze Vukaj and McKenzie Schuster to trim the deficit to 21-17. The Bulldogs, however, would close-out the second by a 25-18 count to take an overall edge of 2-0 in the match.
SVSU opened the third frame with solid play once again, stringing together four straight points to grab an early 5-2 lead after forcing a few attack errors and a kill from Schmitt. Ferris worked its way back to take the lead 10-8 but Saginaw Valley used kills from Vukaj and Schuster to knot the score back at 10-10. The Cards led 17-12 before the Bulldogs posted four straight points to bring the score back to 17-16. Consecutive kills from Vukaj and Sarah Tabit would later take the SVSU lead to 22-19 and they would lead 24-22 after another Tabit kill. Ferris would get the next three, taking a 25-24 edge and shifting the momentum slightly. A Schmitt kill then a Ferris attack error would then swing it back in the Cardinals' favor, 26-25. The Bulldogs then rallied and took the next three points, using two kills and an ace to seal the 3-0 win with a 28-26 third set score.
Inside the Boxscore
- Kelly Vellucci had 36 assists for the Cardinals in the tough-fought matchup, adding 13 digs, a block and two kills. The program's all-time leader in assists was named the Chili's Player of the Match in her final contest.
- Schmitt posted a team-high 11 kills with two blocks for the Cardinals. She finishes her career as the all-time leader in attack percentage with a mark of .308.
- Vukaj hit. .538 in the match while registering seven kills for SV.
- Emily Nieman and Abbie Toland both notched a team-high 15 digs to anchor the Cardinal defense.
- Brigham added six kills and 10 digs in her final performance as a Cardinal.
Post-match Press Conference - Will Stanton & Kelly Vellucci
The 2016 season comes to an end for Saginaw Valley, as the Cardinals competed in their fifth-ever NCAA Division II Tournament and claimed their first victory in the annual postseason event since 2009. Saginaw Valley graduates four seniors from this year's squad, as Kennedy Marker, Kelly Vellucci, Andrea Brigham and Kaylee Schmitt all wrap-up their careers in an SVSU uniform.
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