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Lowell spikers’ upset effort falls short in fifth set against East Grand Rapids

The Lowell volleyball team stood up Thursday night, and in doing so, stood out in a five-set defeat to the number one ranked Class B volleyball team in the state.

“We did everything we could have except win,” said Lowell volleyball coach Gigi Peal. “I am so proud of our play and what the girls did out there tonight.”

What the Red Arrows did was lose a thrilling volleyball match to East Grand Rapids 27-25, 20-25, 25-22, 25-27, 10-15.

“The girls went out there and played excellent volleyball and had fun with the opportunity they’d created for themselves,” Peal said.

Lowell was able to control the ball on its side of the net, serve and serve receive well and play with confidence. It also was able to contain the play of Betsy Ronda.

The Pioneer senior, however, displayed her finest moments in the fifth and decisive set in helping East escape with a victory.

Peal got the expected splendid play from seniors Jordan Timmer, Arielle Nausieda, and Stephanie Stevens.

“One of the big keys to our success tonight, though,  was the ‘more than I could have ever expected’ play from our middle (Hannah Tawney and Aubreigh Steed,” Peal said.  “East runs a fast-hitting offense with combinations and the girls really stepped up to challenge with their level of play.”

The loss drops Lowell to 5-2 in the O-K White Conference, now two games in back of the Pioneers with three games (Creston, Northview and Greenvile) to play.

East Grand Rapids’ league record, with the win,  remains perfect at 7-0.

Abby Petroelje led all Red Arrows in kills with 19. Tawney delivered three aces and seven kills. Timmer was the club leader in assists with 38 while Nausieda recorded 36 digs.

Ronda finished with 24 kills for East. Maeve McDonald posted 68 assists and 27 digs..

“The atmosphere out there tonight was electric. Our crowd really wanted to the girls to win and rallied behind them,” Peal said. “East, however, showed that they aren’t number one in the state without justification.”