PAINESVILLE, Ohio - The Lake Erie volleyball team lost a tight four-set match (19-25, 20-25, 26-24, 23-25) against West Liberty to close out its season on Saturday (Nov. 7) afternoon at Athletic Center Arena.
Prior to the match, the Storm (10-27) celebrated the career of senior outside hitter Erica Muniak (Geneva, Ohio/Geneva), who played for the final time in a Storm uniform. She was the lone senior on a team that is made strides in its second year in Division II.
The Storm jumped out to a 14-6 lead in the first set, but was unable to maintain the pressure as the Hilltoppers (7-22) scored 19 of the final 24 points to win the set, 25-19.
Lake Erie again took a 17-15 lead in the second set, but the 'Toppers won 10 of the next 13 to close it out and take a daunting two-set lead.
The Storm was undeterred, though, coming back from a 19-15 deficit to win 26-24 and force a fourth set.
Again in the fourth, it seemed like the Storm would fight through another deficit, but West Liberty clung to its small lead and won the fourth set, 25-23.
Freshman middle hitter Nicole Kunar (Northfield Center, Ohio/Nordonia) paced the Storm with 11 kills. Sophomore right-side player Michelle Naab (North Royalton, Ohio/North Royalton) added nine kills in 17 attacks with three errors for a team-best .353 hitting percentage. Sophomore setter Krista O'Connor (North Royalton, Ohio/North Royalton) had a team-high 23 assists, while adding 19 digs for the double-double.
Defensively, sophomore libero Brittany Raggets (Eastlake, Ohio/Villa Angela-St. Joseph) led the way with 21 digs.
The Storm was unable to play to its biggest advantage: blocking. Lake Erie managed just two total blocks on the day. They entered the week ranked 38th in the country in blocks per set.
Lake Erie will now look to build off this season, returning all but one of its players, and look to compete in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in 2010.