Grand Rapids, Mich. - The Alma College volleyball team split a pair of non-conference games on Friday (Sept. 7) at the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Preview Tournament. It fell 3-0 to No. 1 Calvin and defeated Olivet 3-0. Alma is now 5-1 on the year; Calvin is 4-0 and Olivet is 4-1 after the matches.
Junior outside hitter Georgia Miller (Georgetown, Ky. / Scott County) led the Scots in kills with 18 in the two matches, good for exactly three per set. She hit .390 with just two errors and added 11 digs and four blocks. Freshmen outside hitter Sara Majerle (Rockford, Mich. / Rockford) and opposite Haley Ullrich (Elk River, Minn. / Elk River) also had double-digit kills with 16 and 15, respectively. Ullrich hit .256 against the Knights and Comets, while Majerle hit .200 and tied for the team lead with 16 digs in her first collegiate appearances. She also led Alma with eight kills against Calvin.
Sophomore setter Haley Novak (Midland, Mich. / Bullock Creek) had 52 assists over both matches, including a career-high 31 against Olivet. She also posted five kills on seven attacks for a hit percentage of .571. Miller led the team with 11 kills against the Comets on a .417 hit percentage. Ullrich tallied nine kills in the match.
How it Happened
- Alma struggled to get kills in the first and third games against Calvin. The Knights took them both 25-14.
- Alma hit .233 in the second game and fell by just five to the number one team in the nation. Sara Majerle had four kills in the set, tied for the set-lead with Calvin's Anna Kamp. The Scots led 13-11 before Calvin went on a 7-1 run to take an 18-14 lead. Alma kept the score close but could not regain the lead.
- Conversely, against Olivet, Alma led most of the way, hitting over .300 in each set. The Comets had 10 errors in the first set and eight in the second before getting right in the third with just three — though the third set is also when Alma had a match-high 18 kills.
- The Scots took the first set 25-13 and ended the set on an 8-0 run. It started the second set with a 6-2 lead and let Olivet come back to tie it at 13, but slowly got the lead back up to three before finishing on a 5-1 run and winning 25-19. The Scots got kills from Majerle, Miller and Naomi Mason (Kaleva, Mich. / Brethren) during the run.
- Alma fell behind 4-1 in the third set — the first time it trailed all match. Down 9-7, Majerle sparked an 11-3 run with three straight kills. Now up 18-12, the Scots coasted to a 25-19 win and sweep.
- Haley Novak's 31 assists are a career-high, two more than her previous career-high of 29 which she tied earlier this year against Eureka. Thirty-one assists are also the most by a Scot in at least the last three years.
- Novak is second in the conference in assists with 133 and third in assists per set with 7.00
- Alma committed only eight attacking errors against Olivet and committed just three through the first two sets.
- Senior middle blocker Katie Bush (Lowell, Mich. / Lowell) posted seven blocks over the two games. She leads the MIAA in blocks per set with 1.11
The MIAA Preview Tournament continues with games against Trine at 1 p.m. and Saint Mary's at 3 p.m. on Saturday (Sept. 8). Trine beat Saint Mary's and lost to Calvin on Friday; in addition to losing to the Thunder, Saint Mary's also lost to Olivet.