The Sylvania-based college, which was founded in 1958, launched its first season of intercollegiate athletic competition this fall. The Lourdes women's volleyball team received the honor of hosting the first home match and christened its new court at the Tam-O-Shanter field house with a win.
Lourdes defeated the Ohio State University at Marion three sets to one. The Gray Wolves dropped the first set 25-19 but rallied to win the next three (25-17, 25-6, and 25-20).
"This was a huge event," Lourdes coach Greg Reitz said. "Everyone on campus is fired up to have athletics for the first time. This is a big step in the right direction for Lourdes athletics."
Lourdes improved its record to 4-1. But perhaps nerves and excitement over the historic event led to a slow start.
Lourdes had defeated OSU-Marion earlier this season. The schools compete in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The Gray Wolves fell behind 16-13 in the first set Wednesday night and could not recover.
"We were a little nervous for our home opener," said Reitz, a former assistant at the University of Toledo. "They were thinking a little too much. But we steadied out. We played well as a team. Our team defense was really strong."
Lourdes recovered quickly in the second set with early runs, including a 5-0 spurt that gave the Gray Wolves a 16-10 lead. Lourdes never trailed in the second set as Allison Mass, a freshman from Tiffin Calvert, and Lauren Hunt, a freshman from Akron, led the way with solid serves that initiated rallies. Mass also had several kills in the set.
Lourdes dominated the third set, opening an 8-1 edge it parlayed into a 20-2 cushion. Hunt served eight straight points. Hannah Thompson, a junior from Arkansas, and Alexandra Blazevich, a freshman from Cardinal Stritch, had several kills.
"It was a big game for us," Blazevich said. "There were a lot of nerves. But we eventually settled down and played our game. This was a big night for the school."
Blazevich then had served for six straight points to open a 9-3 lead in the final set. Mass halted an OSU-Marion comeback bid with a kill to end the match.
"Coach told us the nerves should be gone and to go out and play our game, and that showed. We stepped our game up,"
Members of the newly formed men's basketball team, which also begins play later this fall, offered plenty of encouragement from the stands. Lourdes started its athletic program with four teams including men's and women's golf.
"This is so great to be part of the first sports team," Blazevich said. "It is such a neat thing. The school is so excited. This was perfect."
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