EMU tournament recap
Beavers take second place at Eastern Mennonite Volleyball Tournament
Sept. 3, 2007
HARRISONBURG, Va. - The Bluffton University volleyball team opened its 2007 campaign at the Eastern Mennonite University tournament where the Beavers won their first three matches en route to a second place finish. The three victories marked the third consecutive season that Bluffton has picked up three wins on the first weekend of play. Leading the way were All-Tournament selections Shauna Rowland (Bucyrus/Wynford) and Kayla Pickering (Jamestown/Greenview), both all-state selections for their respective high schools a year ago.
The Beavers started off quickly in the season opener against Guilford College and never looked back. Bluffton steamrolled its way to a three-game victory (30-13, 30-20, 30-25) behind the all around play of Rowland who hit .533 with nine kills and only one hitting error. She picked up 14 assists and 15 digs in her first collegiate match. Sophomore hitter Michele Rosen (Harrison/Harrison) led the Beavers with 15 kills. From the back row, sophomore libero Brittany Roth (Findlay/Findlay) tied for team-high honors with 15 digs. Junior setter Chelsea Wyse (Archbold/Archbold) tallied 25 assists and 11 digs in the victory over Guilford. Pickering made her presence at the net known, knocking down nine kills with only one error for a .471 hitting percentage.
In a five-set thriller against host Eastern Mennonite on Friday night, the Beavers prevailed, winning 29-31, 30-28, 30-23, 28-30, and 15-9. Pickering led the offensive, finishing with 16 kills and a .314 hitting percentage. She also added three service aces. Senior Rachel Alvarez (Convoy/Crestview) had a fine match for Bluffton, knocking down 14 kills for a .270 hitting percentage. Rowland did it all, leading the Beavers with 23 assists, picking up 11 digs and putting down 10 kills. Wyse tallied 14 digs to go along with her 20 assists and Roth chipped in with 16 digs. Freshman Amanda Didion (Sandusky/Margaretta) notched 11 digs in the victory. Rosen, who tallied nine kills, and Wyse both ripped five service aces against EMU.
Bluffton opened play on Saturday with another five-set victory, this time over Messiah College after dropping the first two games (24-30, 25-30, 30-25, 30-23, 15-10). Rosen led the attack with 15 kills. Rowland continued to play well, hitting .450 with 11 kills, 23 assists and 11 digs. Pickering tallied 13 kills and Roth led the Beavers with 19 digs. Junior Kate Barnett (North Bloomfield/Lakeview) ripped three service aces and Wyse led Bluffton with 26 assists.
After taking the first three matches to open the EMU tournament, the Beavers found themselves in the championship finals against a talented Bridgewater team that finished its 2006 season at 26-4. Bluffton gave Bridgewater all it wanted before falling in three competitive sets (30-28, 30-21, 30-22). Roth led the Beavers with 23 digs while Pickering chipped in with 11. Freshman Allison Streicher (Continental/Continental) hit .333 with seven kills. Pickering tied for match-high honors with seven kills as well. Roth and Pickering both finished the match with three aces.
The Beavers will make their home debut in Founders Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 5, against Lake Erie College. The match is slated to start at 7 p.m.