Nationally-ranked Wittenberg (7-0, 16-5) clinched at least a share of its league-leading 22nd NCAC Volleyball title last week after topping Kenyon (4-3, 15-9) by a 3-0 margin on October 19th. The eight teams for the 2016 NCAC Volleyball Tournament are set; however, there are several seeds still up for grabs with four league matches remaining on the schedule this week.
ALLEGHENY dropped a 3-0 decision against Kenyon in its only action last week. Junior Hannah Cubarney (Trafford, PA/Norwin) had a team-high seven kills against the Ladies, while junior Terra Schall (Kittanning, PA/Kittanning) paced the defense with 18 digs.
DENISON trailed Wooster, 2-0, after two sets on Wednesday, but the Big Red stormed back to win the final three sets and take the five-set home victory over the Scots. The Big Red also suffered a 3-1 loss against DePauw on Senior Day. Junior Leah Reinfranck (Northbrook, IL/Glenbrook North) led DU on the week with 32 kills in nine sets, which included a 19-kill performance in the come-from-behind win over Wooster.
DEPAUW, which appears in the “Others Receiving Votes” section of the AVCA Top-25, wrapped up NCAC play last week with a pair of 3-1 wins over Ohio Wesleyan and Denison. At 19-4 overall, the Tigers need just one more win to secure their 12th 20-win season in the last 13 years and the 17th in the last 19. In eight total sets last week, senior outside hitter Elisabeth Wilson (Carterville, IL/Carterville) racked up 21 kills, 10 blocks and six digs.
HIRAM dropped below .500 in NCAC action at 3-4 with a 3-1 home loss against Ohio Wesleyan on Saturday. The setback marked the Terriers’ first home loss of the season after opening the 2016 campaign with a perfect 7-0 mark at Price Gymnasium. Despite the loss, junior middle hitter Jessica Fontana (Thompson, OH/Ledgemont) topped the 10-plus kill mark in a match for the second time this season as she posted 11 kills and had just two hitting errors in 22 total attempts for a .409 hitting percentage.
KENYON battled through injuries last week, but still posted a 1-1 record with a 3-0 victory over Allegheny and a 3-0 setback against No. 3 Wittenberg. With nearly half of the everyday starting lineup out last week because of injury, freshman Mackenzie Bruzzio (Flemington, NJ/Hunterdon Central) stepped up and led the Ladies with 22 kills, 19 digs and four aces, which included her third double-double of the season with 13 kills and 15 digs against the Gators.
OBERLIN went 0-3 on its west coast trip to California last week with losses against Occidental, 3-1, Pomona-Pitzer, 3-2 and Chapman, 3-0. Freshman Lexi Mitchell (Fort Mill, SC/Providence Day) totaled 34 kills and 26 digs over the three matches combined, while junior Dana Thomas (Cincinnati, OH/Summit Country Day) chipped in 21 kills and six total blocks.
OHIO WESLEYAN opened play last week with a 3-1 league loss against DePauw, but the Bishops bounced back with a pair of 3-1 wins over Mount Union and Hiram. In the two wins, senior Shelby Ksiazek (Littleton, CO/Regis Jesuit) shined offensively with 33 kills and just three hitting errors in 67 total attempts for a .448 hitting percentage.
WITTENBERG, ranked third in the most recent AVCA Top-25, topped Kenyon, 3-0, in league action on Wednesday, before going 1-2 over the weekend at the Washington (MO) National Invitational. The Tigers opened the two-day event with a straight set victory over Illinois Wesleyan on Friday, before dropping a pair of 3-0 decisions on Saturday against No. 8 Texas-Dallas and No. 17 Washington (MO). Sophomore setter Karen Wildemann (Columbus, IN/North), who handed out 20 assists in the league win over Kenyon, was named to the all-tournament team over the weekend after compiling 96 assists, 32 digs and five aces over the three matches combined.
WOOSTER suffered a narrow 3-2 loss against Denison on Wednesday; however, the Scots rebounded with three-straight wins over Marietta, 3-0, Westminster, 3-0, and Grove City, 3-1. Despite the loss against the Big Red, Wooster set the single match record for team blocks in the 25-point scoring era with 18 total rejections. Senior Lydia Webster (Fredericktown, OH/Fredericktown) also set the program’s single match record for individual blocks in a match in the 25-point scoring era with 14 (1 solo, 13 asst.) against the Big Red. In 13 total sets on the week, Webster totaled 27 kills, 25 blocks, 10 digs and three aces.