Bluffton handles Grace and Otterbein
Bluffton improves to 17-5 with sweeps of Grace and Otterbein
October 19, 2009
By: Erin Neal, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University women's volleyball team finished out their week with a spotless 3-0 mark after they defeated non-conference opponents Grace College and Otterbein College in a tri-match on Saturday, Oct. 17 in Founders Hall. They first took down the Lancers 3-0 (25-9, 25-21, 25-20), then went on to defeat Otterbein for the second time this season, also in three straight sets (25-22, 26-24, 25-19). With the two victories the Beavers now have an overall record of 17-5 and a perfect 4-0 mark in Heartland Conference action, tied for first place with Rose-Hulman.
In the first contest of the day, the Beavers handled Grace College, a match in which every Beaver saw action on the court. Junior setter Shauna Rowland (Bucyrus/Wynford) directed the offensive efforts and tallied up 37 assists. She connected with several hitters as sophomores Jenna Eshleman (Landisville, Penn./Hempfield) and Courtney Zimmerman (Leesburg/Fairfield) slammed down nine and seven kills, respectively. Sophomore outside Nicole Wood (Tiffin/Hopewell Loudon) put down six kills, while junior opposite hitter Allison Streicher (Continental) contributed five kills. Streicher also served up a sizzling four aces against the Lancers while junior Kayla Pickering (Jamestown/Greenview) ripped two of her own.
Defensively, the Beavers were led by Rowland with 13 digs, followed by senior libero Brittany Roth (Findlay/Findlay) with 10 digs and Streicher with eight.
In their second matchup of the season with Otterbein, the Beavers were able to finally create some separation in the third to ensure their fourth consecutive 3-0 victory. Bluffton was once again led by Eshleman as she pounded down 14 kills, resulting in a .250 hitting percentage. She was followed by Zimmerman and Wood, each with eight kills. Rowland put up 32 assists, moving her into 3rd place on Bluffton's all-time assists list. She surpassed Jenny (Etzler) Fledderjohann who tallied 2,214 during her career at Bluffton from 1991-94. Rowland now has 2,267 for her career.
Eshleman also led the Beaver defense with 15 digs, followed by Streicher with 13 and Roth with 11. Sophomore middle Heather Rodman (Mansfield/Mansfield Christian) contributed two solo blocks and one block assist in the win over the Cardinals.
The Beavers' next travel to Cincinnati Christian University on Friday, Oct. 23, to take on the Eagles at 6 p.m. The following day they continue south to Lexington, Ky., for a conference showdown against HCAC foe Transylvania. The Beavers will take on the Pioneers at 12 noon and Asbury College at 2 p.m.