Senior Grace Larson finished with 23 digs and a career-high 25 kills in her return to the lineup but the Lake Forest College volleyball team was defeated 27-25, 22-25, 11-25, 29-27, 15-10 at Illinois Institute of Technology Friday night.
Larson, who had not played since suffering an injury on September 8, led all players in the contest in kills while leading the Foresters and tying for match-high honors in digs. She reached the 20-mark in both categories for the second time in her career, having tallied exactly 20 of each against Illinois College in October of her freshman year.
Sophomore Isabel Donnelly was next on the team with a dozen kills and she committed just one attack error in 26 attempts for a .423 hitting percentage on the night. Donnelly led Lake Forest with five blocks, one more than senior Morgen Malte.
Four other Foresters joined Larson in doubles figures in digs, including senior libero Emily Witz, who tallied 19 to extend her season-opening streak with at least 10 digs to 13 matches. Sophomores Olivia Smith and Hannah Nauert finished with 18 and 13, respectively, and junior Olivia Rhodes added 12. Rhodes tallied 26 assists and Nauert 19 to go with a career-high six aces.
Lake Forest fell behind by as many as five points early in the first set but came back to tie the score at 11. Trailing 20-18, the visitors rattled off five straight points and had three opportunities to win the set before dropping it 27-25.
The Scarlet Hawks had a five-point lead on five separate occasions in set two. The last was at 22-17 and preceded a timeout, followed by a set-ending eight-point run by the Foresters that included three kills by Larson and a pair of aces from Nauert.
Nauert served up three more aces during a 10-point run in set three that made the score 22-9. After a pair of points from the home team, Larson recorded a kill and an ace and the set ended on a block by Donnelly and Malte.
Set four was close throughout, with neither team leading by more than three. Lake Forest fought off two set point opportunities before squandering a pair of chances of their own at match point. Trailing 27-26, Illinois Tech took three consecutive points to win the set.
The fifth and final set was tied eight times before three straight points for the Scarlet Hawks made the score 11-8. The Foresters trimmed the deficit to a single point before dropping four in a row and the set.
The loss dropped Lake Forest's record on the season to 4-9 while Illinois Tech improved to 2-8.
The Foresters will play two more matches on Saturday at Concordia University Chicago. They will play Alverno College for the second time this season at 2:00 in the afternoon before taking on the hosts at 4:00.