Defiance 3, Bluffton 1
Beavers put up fight before falling to Defiance in four games
October 31, 2006
BLUFFTON, Ohio - With a chance to guarantee itself a berth in the upcoming Heartland Conference tournament, the Bluffton University volleyball team came up short against the Defiance College Yellow Jackets in front of a raucous group of students dressed up for Halloween on October 31, 2006. Following the loss to Defiance, Bluffton finished its regular season with a 9-23 record, including a 3-5 mark in the HCAC.
A slow start in the first game compounded by serving errors throughout allowed the Yellow Jackets to forge a 13-6 lead over the Beavers. Bluffton rallied to close the gap to one point, 18-17, with senior Brittany Shultz (Hudson, Ind./Prairie Heights) at the service line, but Defiance responded with a five-point run to take control of the game, 23-17. The two teams traded serving errors as Defiance held on to take game one by a score of 30-24.
Freshmen hitters Anna Viars (Lebanon/Lebanon) and Michele Rosen (Harrison/Harrison) led the way in game two, helping Bluffton build a seemingly insurmountable 29-19 lead before Defiance quieted the crowd with seven straight points. Jordan Scifres (Greenwood, Ind./Lutheran) slammed home the final point, giving Bluffton a 30-26 victory and knotting the match at one game apiece.
Another slow start by the Beavers in game three was the difference as the Yellow Jackets used an early 17-6 lead to propel them to a 30-28 win. Bluffton scored five straight points with sophomore Kate Barnett (North Bloomfield/Lakeview) serving to cut the deficit to six points, 17-11. Still down 28-23, Scifres helped Bluffton claw back to within one point before Lauren Aldridge knocked down a kill for the 30-28 victory over the Beavers.
Despite trailing 10-5 early in game four, Bluffton rebounded with superb team blocking and Rosen's hitting to overtake the Yellow Jackets, 20-18. Defiance was not ready to see its season end, however, and it took advantage of seven Bluffton errors late in the game to finish the match with a 30-26 victory over the Beavers.
Viars led the Bluffton attack with 11 kills and a .304 hitting percentage. She finished the night with a team-high eight block assists and one solo block. Junior Kalla Aeschliman (Wauseon/Wauseon) was a force at the net, pounding eight kills with only two hitting errors for a .300 hitting percentage. On the outside, freshmen Scifres and Rosen tallied 10 kills each. Scifres finished with four block assists while Rosen netted three. Junior Rachel Alvarez (Convoy/Crestview) and freshman Audra Coleman (Lima/Central Catholic) both chipped in with eight kills as part of Bluffton's balanced attack. Coleman tallied four block assists against the Yellow Jackets.
Brittany Shultz and Chelsea Wyse (Archbold/Archbold) set up the Bluffton hitters with 24 and 22 assists respectively. Libero Brittany Roth (Findlay/Findlay) kept the Beavers in the match with her team-high 24 digs. She and Shultz finished the night with three aces each.
The Beavers' season is now complete thanks to Franklin's five-game victory over Hanover College as the Grizzlies claimed fifth place and the Yellow Jackets sixth place in the HCAC. The top six teams will continue their respective seasons in the Heartland Conference tournament later this week.