Bluffton 3, Defiance 0
Beavers sweep Defiance for seventh straight victory
November 4, 2008
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University volleyball team continued its hot play, sweeping backyard rival Defiance College (25-23, 28-26, 25-16) in front of a raucous Founders Hall crowd on Tuesday, November 4, 2008. The Founders Hall faithful witnessed the Beavers wrap up their home campaign with a spotless 9-0 mark. The victory snapped a 10-match losing streak to the Yellow Jackets as Bluffton defeated Defiance for the first time since October 24, 2000. When the Beavers last notched a win over Defiance, side-out scoring was still being used at the collegiate level.
The Beavers improved to 20-9 overall and their 5-3 mark in the Heartland Conference is the best ever by a Bluffton volleyball team. The 20 victories are the most since the 1998 squad finished 23-15. Although Defiance dropped to 14-12 overall and 6-2 in the HCAC, the Jackets assured themselves of the no. 2 seed in the upcoming HCAC tournament which will be held at the College of Mount St. Joseph on Saturday, Nov. 8.
The first set was highly contested and brought the fans to their feet as neither team ever led by more than two points. With Bluffton up 23-22, freshman middle hitter Christiana Sindelar (Napoleon) rifled a kill to put the Beavers up by two. Following a Bluffton serving error, Sindelar ended the first set with another spike for the 25-23 victory.
After Bluffton fell behind 10-6 in set two, the Beavers rallied to make it more of a barnburner than the lidlifter. The Beavers went ahead 15-14 following another Sindelar spike before Defiance made its presence known at the net with two blocks that helped the visitors to a 20-18 advantage. A Kristen Nicely kill put Defiance up 26-25, but Allison Streicher (Continental) knotted the set with a throwdown and Shauna Rowland (Bucyrus/Wynford) found Nicole Wood (Tiffin/Hopewell Loudon) for back-to-back kills that put Bluffton up 2-0 with a 28-26 victory in the second set.
The Jackets were within two points, 9-7, before a 9-4 jag by the home team put the match out of reach. Included in the burst were three Jenna Eshleman (Landisville, Penn./Hempfield) kills and an ace by freshman serving specialist Morgan Hicks (Convoy/Crestview). Wood pounded a pair of strikes with the Beavers closing in on victory and Hicks finished off the Yellow Jackets with three consecutive aces for a 25-16 demolition in the clincher.
Nicole Wood equaled her career-high with 14 kills while hitting .250 for the match. Freshman spiker Jenna Eshleman pounded 13 kills and hit at a .333 clip. She added seven digs and tallied a solo block and a block assist. Providing a powerful spike from the middle, Christiana Sindelar recorded no hitting errors while driving home 10 kills on just 14 attacks for an astronomical .714 hitting percentage.
Shauna Rowland stirred the drink for the Beavers with 42 assists. She picked up a team-high 15 digs for her 13th double-double of the season. Brittany Roth (Findlay) added 14 digs for Bluffton while helping to set up the Beavers' high-octane offense with her precision passing. Morgan Hicks did the job at the service line, finding the Jackets' holes for four aces, including the final three points of the match.
The Beavers hit at a superb .302 clip as a team, knocking down 48 kills with only 13 errors on 116 total attacks. Bluffton finished with seven service aces, compared to just one for the visitors.
Hanover's victory over Franklin tonight keeps Bluffton in fifth place in the HCAC and it means that the Beavers will face off with the no. 4 seeded Panthers at Mount St. Joseph in the quarterfinals of the Heartland Conference tournament on Saturday, Nov. 8, at 2 p.m. A victory over Hanover would catapult Bluffton into the semifinals where the Beavers will clash with the no. 1 seeded Lions at 7 p.m. that evening.