At the midway point of the NCAC volleyball schedule, DePauw and Wittenberg share the top spot in the league standings with identical 4-0 marks against conference foes, while Ohio Wesleyan sits alone in third at 4-1 and Kenyon holds the fourth spot with a 2-1 mark. There are eight league matches on the schedule this week, highlighted by Wittenberg hosting Denison on Wednesday and DePauw traveling to Kenyon on Saturday.
ALLEGHENY opened play last week with a 3-2 non-league win over John Carroll, before dropping back-to-back 3-0 decisions against conference heavyweights Wittenberg and DePauw over the weekend. In the win over the Blue Streaks, senior middle hitter Leah Franzluebbers (Wethersfield, CT/East Catholic) led both sides with 15 kills and seven blocks (2 solo, 5 asst.), while classmate Kylee Karczewski (South Bend, IN/George Washington) had a career-high seven aces in the five-set win.
DENISON dropped a 3-0 decision at Ohio Wesleyan on Tuesday, but the Big Red bounced back with a 3-2 home win over Kenyon on Saturday. It marked DU’s sixth, five-set match in its last nine contests. Freshman outside hitter Emma Woerner (Novato, CA/Novato) led the Big Red with 24 kills on the week, which included a performance against the Ladies in which she smashed 15 kills against just four hitting errors in 34 attempts for a .324 hitting percentage.
DEPAUW, which is receiving votes in the AVCA Top-25, strung together three straight-set victories last week against Franklin, Hiram and Allegheny. The Tigers have now won six matches in a row, which includes five-straight 3-0 victories dating back to a win over Millikin on September 28th. DePauw, which averaged 14.1 kills per set last week, had its offense jump started last week by senior setter Keegan Kollias (Zionsville, IN/Zionsville) with 98 total assists, highlighted by a pair of double-double efforts with 33 assists and 11 digs against Franklin, and 33 assists and 10 digs against Hiram.
HIRAM was swept in a pair of conference matches last weekend against No. 1 Wittenberg and DePauw. It marked the first two times this season that the Terries have lost in straight sets, and just the third time in the last two seasons. Senior outside hitter Grace Wilson (Chagrin Falls, OH/Chagrin Falls) paced the Terries against Wittenberg with 12 kills and a .320 hitting percentage, while freshman outside hitter Kayla Cole (Louisville, OH/Louisville) led the squad with 11 kills against DPU.
KENYON split a pair of league matches last week, defeating Oberlin, 3-0, on Friday, before dropping a five-setter at Denison on Saturday. Senior setter Jensen Shurbert (Santa Cruz, CA/Pacific Collegiate), who is now second in school history with 2,725 career assists, logged a pair of double-double efforts on the week with 24 assists and 10 digs against Oberlin, before adding 37 assists and 14 digs at DU.
OBERLIN lost a pair of league matches last week, falling in straight sets at Kenyon, before being bested in a four-set match at home against Wooster. Senior outside hitter Claudia Scott (Cibolo, TX/Byron P/ Steele II), who has fought through injuries the last two seasons, had a career-day against the Scots with 13 kills and five service aces.
OHIO WESLEYAN moved to 4-1 in league play with two wins against Denison, 3-0, and Wooster, 3-1. Freshman setter Molly Jewett (Eagle, CO/Eagle Valley) triggered the OWU offense on the week with 92 total assists, which included her third 50-plus assist match of the season after passing out 51 helpers against Wooster.
WITTENBERG, the nation’s top-ranked team in the AVCA Top-25, kept its perfect season intact with a pair of 3-0 wins last weekend at home against Allegheny and Hiram. Senior outside hitter Maddie Fischer (Minerva, OH/Minerva) had a pair of dominating performances for the Tigers, finishing the week with 18 digs, four aces and 33 kills against just seven hitting errors in 57 attempts for an eye-popping .456 hitting percentage. Fischer also logged her eighth double-double of the season in the win over Hiram with 18 kills and 12 digs.
WOOSTER was on the opposite ends of 3-1 decisions last week, first falling to Ohio Wesleyan on Friday night, before earning its first league win of the season at Oberlin on Saturday. Three players topped the 10-kill mark in the win over the Yeowomen, led by junior middle hitter Ashley Plassard (Painesville, OH/Riverside) posting 11 kills and committing no errors in 23 attempts for a .478 hitting percentage. Plassard also added 10 kills against OWU, finishing the week with 21 kills and just two hitting errors in 41 attempts for a blistering .463 hitting percentage. In Friday’s loss against OWU, the Scots posted a season-high 14 blocks, the most since the single-match program record of 18 was set against Denison last year.