Bluffton 3, Ohio Wesleyan 0
Bluffton takes down Ohio Wesleyan 3-0 in 2009 home opener
September 9, 2009
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University volleyball team picked up right where it left last season with its 10th straight victory in front of the home crowd in cozy Founders Hall. The Beavers have not lost on their home court since October 30, 2007, when they took HCAC power Mt. St. Joseph to four sets on Senior Night. Ohio Wesleyan kept the Beavers off balance throughout much of the first set before Bluffton rallied for the 25-21 victory. The home team put it together in the second set, winning 25-17, before Coach Yarnell went to his bench in the clincher. Each Beaver dressed for the contest made it into the match as Bluffton closed out with a convincing 25-18 win.
The first set saw Ohio Wesleyan open up its largest lead of the night at 19-17, but five straight points by the Beavers forced two OWU timeouts and put Bluffton up, 22-19. Jenna Eshleman (Landisville, Penn./Hempfield) served four straight points and junior right-side hitter Allison Streicher (Bluffton) drove home a pair of kills during the spurt. Sophomore outside hitter Nicole Wood (Tiffin/Hopewell-Loudon) sandwiched a pair of spikes around a Courtney Zimmerman (Leesburg/Fairfield) kill for the final 25-21 margin.
The Battling Bishops knotted the score at three following a Lainey Kekic service ace, but the Beavers went on a quick 12-2 run with freshman Brooke Distel (Carey) and Streicher getting the job done at the service line. Five straight points from the visitors led to a Bluffton timeout (19-13). Eshleman answered the call with a kill before Kayla Pickering (Jamestown/Greenview) and Zimmerman followed suit to make the score 23-14. Zimmerman finished it off with another throwdown that made the final score 25-17.
Bluffton wasted no time making its mark in the third and final set. Shauna Rowland (Bucyrus/Wynford) and Pickering moved their serves around in giving the Beavers a 7-2 advantage early in the clincher. With Coach Yarnell substituting liberally, Bluffton continued to maintain a 4-7 point advantage throughout the remainder of the contest. A Pickering spike made it 24-18 and Zimmerman served the final point to cinch the 3-0 victory.
Courtney Zimmerman controlled the net from her middle hitter position, pounding a team-high 12 kills on just 18 swings for a superb .500 hitting percentage. Nicole Wood and Jenna Eshleman lit it up on the outside, tallying nine and eight kills, respectively. Wood hit .583 for the match while Eshleman hit at a .316 clip with a team-high nine digs. Zimmerman added a solo block and two block assists. Allison Streicher chipped in with six kills and five digs. Junior setter Shauna Rowland found her teammates for 38 assists and she picked up five digs.
The Beavers return to action on Friday, September 11, when they travel to Kenyon College for another weekend tournament. Bluffton opens against Sewanee on 6 p.m. Friday night.