NCAA Second Round Recap:
Wittenberg (24-2) advanced to the regional finals of the 2017 NCAA Division III Volleyball Tournament for the seventh time in the last eight years straight year following a 3-1 victory over Juniata (24-9). Box Score | Photos
The Wittenberg Tigers topped the Eagles to set up a regional final match against win winner of Ohio Northern (28-5) and host Otterbein (30-3) at 2:00 p.m. tomorrow afternoon (11/12) in Westerville, Ohio.
Wittenberg and Juniata split the first two sets before the Tigers closed out the match winning the final two sets 25-23 and 25-21. Junior outside hitter Taylor Brown (Springfield, OH/Kenton Ridge) led with 10 kills and nine digs, while senior Maddie Fischer (Minerva, OH/Minerva) added six kills, eight digs and six services aces.
Junior setter Karen Wildemann (Columbus, IN/North) dished out 28 to go along with four kills and six digs. Sophomore Aubrey Cox (Tipp City, OH/Tippecanoe) finished with six kills to just one error and a team-high .333 attack percentage. Juniata finished with a .173 overall team hitting percentage to Wittenberg’s .129, but the Tigers committed 20 errors to the Eagles 25.
NCAA First Round Recap (11/10):
Wittenberg (23-2) logged an opening-round victory, while DePauw (20-8) saw its season come to a close on Friday night to open play in the 2017 NCAA Division III Volleyball Tournament at the Otterbein University Regional in Westerville, Ohio. PHOTOS
Wittenberg, ranked third in the nation on the final AVCA national poll of the regular season, cruised to a straight-set victory over PSU-Behrend. The victory sets up a regional semifinal match against Juniata (24-8) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon. Senior outside hitter Maddie Fischer (Minerva, OH/Minerva) paced the Tigers’ with nine kills and a .444 hitting percentage but Wittenberg saw a balanced attack across the board as Aubrey Cox (Tipp City, OH/Tippecanoe) finished with eight kills and Taylor Brown (Springfield, OH/Kenton Ridge) and Karen Wildemann (Columbus, IN/North) chipped in with seven kills apiece. As a team, Wittenberg posted an impressive .391 hitting percentage and served up nine aces led by Wildemann with three. Defensively, sophomore Taylor Yontz (Springfield, OH/Shawnee) scooped up a game-high 10 digs and the Tigers limited the Lions to a .075 hitting percentage. PSU-Behrend ends its season wit a 19-12 record. Watch Wittenberg's post-game press conference HERE. Box ScoreDePauw capped its season with a dramatic 3-2 loss to Ohio Northern (28-5). The Polar Bears jumped out to a 2-0 lead over the Tigers, 25-19, 25-19, but DePauw responded winning the next two sets, 25-17, 27-25, to force the decisive fifth set. In the final set, DePauw led 11-9 before eventually falling, 17-15, on Ohio Northern’s fifth match point. Senior setter Keegan Kollias (Zionsville, IN/Zionsville) handed out 45 set assists in her final match, while junior Suzanne Peters (Fort Wayne, IN/Homestead) led the offensive attack with a game-high 20 kills and a .186 hitting percentage. Watch DePauw's post-game press conference HERE. Box Score
Top-seeded Wittenberg (22-2) captured its conference-leading 23rd NCAC Volleyball Tournament Title on Saturday, November 4th, with a 3-0 victory over second-seeded DePauw (20-7) in the championship match at Pam Evans Smith Arena in Springfield, Ohio.
As tournament champions, Wittenberg received the NCAC’s automatic bid into the 2017 NCAA Division III Volleyball Tournament for the 11th year in a row, while DePauw is making its fourth appearance in the national tournament in the last five years as an at-large selection. This marks the eighth time in league history that the NCAC has placed two teams in the national tournament.
In the new eight-team, single-elimination NCAC volleyball tournament format, the Wittenberg Tigers received a double bye into the semifinals where they knocked off fifth-seeded Denison (15-14), 3-0, thanks to a 12-kill and 10-dig effort from senior outside hitter Maddie Fischer (Minerva, OH/Minerva). Fischer added 14 more kills in the championship match over DePauw, while sophomore middle blocker Aubrey Cox (Tipp City, OH/Tippecanoe) was crowned the Tournament MVP after finishing the two-match stretch with 18 kills and just three hitting errors in 34 total attempts for an eye-popping .441 hitting percentage. Cox also led the Tigers with seven total blocks on the day, with four against Denison and three more against DePauw.
Cox and Fischer were joined on the All-Tournament team by junior teammate Kennedey Schmidt (Englewood, OH/Northmont), the DePauw duo of junior Suzanne Peters (Ft. Wayne, IN/Homestead) and sophomore Morgan Stearley (Center Point, IN/Northview), Denison senior Kristin Thewes (Dripping Springs, TX/St. Stephens Episcopal) and Ohio Wesleyan senior Brianna La Croix (Woodland Hills, CA/Sierra Canyon).
For the second year in a row, both Wittenberg and DePauw will be traveling to the same regional tournament, this time heading to Westerville, Ohio, Nov. 10-12, for the Otterbein College Regional with all seven matches being played inside the Rike Center.
Wittenberg will open the three-day regional tournament on Friday at 3:00 p.m. against PSU-Behrend (19-11), the automatic qualifier out of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference. The winner will take on either Juniata (23-8) or SUNY-Brockport (26-8) on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. On the other side of the bracket, DePauw will open play on Friday at 5:30 p.m. against Ohio Northern (27-5), an at-large selection out of the Ohio Athletic Conference, with the winner set to meet either Otterbein (29-3) or Cabrini (29-6) in the second round at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday.
The regional championship match will be played at Otterbein at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday.
Complete NCAA Tournament information can be found online at: www.ncaa.com/sports/volleyball-women/d3.