April 13, 2012

Antelopes Fall To No. 9 Lewis

Though it lost 3-0 to No. 9 Lewis Friday, Grand Canyon is holding on to the fourth and final homecourt spot for the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Tournament with one match remaining in the regular season.

GCU (15-15, 5-6) lost to the second-place Flyers 25-23, 25-20, 25-14 at Neil Carey Arena in Romeoville, Ill. The Antelopes are still tied for fourth in the MIVA with IPFW, which lost 3-1 to Ohio State Friday. GCU owns the tie-breaker over the Mastodons by sweeping the regular-season series.

GCU and Lewis play again Saturday at 5 p.m. Live stats and live video will be provided by the host school. Links to the live coverage will be available at www.GCULopes.com.

IPFW plays host to Loyola Chicago Saturday. The first-round of the MIVA Tournament is April 21. GCU clinches fourth place with a win or with a loss and IPFW loss Saturday.

Grand Canyon trailed Lewis (22-6, 8-3) the entire first set, but got within reach late by cutting the margin to one point, 23-22 and again at 24-23. A GCU service error ended the first set.

Serving was the key for the Flyers. They had three aces in the opening set and five for the match with only six errors. GCU had two service aces and 12 errors for the match.

“Lewis won this match at the service line,” said GCU coach Jeremy Price. “They put pressure on us with their serving and were able to get some quality swings off it and made the most of them.

“I give them a ton of credit. It was the difference in the first set. If we serve better and win that set, it could have changed the complexion of the match.”

Jordon Tarantino had a team-best 12 kills. Ben Ponnet became GCU’s first 400-kill performer with seven Friday. He has 401 for the season. Middle hitters Taylor Galliano and Connor Dougherty each had five kills. Ben Hunt added four.

It was just the 12th match and ninth start for Dougherty, who played in the middle for regular Ryan Mather. It was also the ninth start of the season for outside hitter Hunt

“Connor and Ben were efficient,” said Price. “Jordon was the one guy that was able to get something going in the third set.
“(Lewis) did really well on defense, serving, blocking and digging and we weren’t as good in those facets.”

Galliano had four block assists. Ponnet had two block assists and four digs. Libero Trent Bruns had a team-high five digs. Setter Keith Smith had 32 assists.

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