BLUFFTON, Ohio - Leading off their 2010 campaign in Founders Hall, the Beavers of
Bluffton University took down non-conference opponent Adrian College in a five-set
match on Wednesday, Sept. 1. Their home debut against the Bulldogs proved to the Bluffton
faithful that the defending HCAC champions have done the necessary preparation in
the preseason to pick up where they left off in 2009.
Bluffton's starting lineup saw a core of familiar faces in set one and the Beavers bolted
out to a quick 14-5 start, yet fell behind mid-way through to fall 25-21 to the Bulldogs.
The second set, however, saw the Beavers rebound back for an immediate 7-1 start,
led by sophomore libero Heather Schierer's (Crescent Springs, Ky./St. Henry) stellar serving. The Beavers sealed set two with
two aces from freshman Ashley Ames (West Unity/Hilltop) and a kill by junior middle hitter Courtney Zimmerman (Leesburg/Fairfield).
After taking set three and losing the fourth, Bluffton found itself with an 8-4 advantage
midway through the final set. Consecutive kills from Zimmerman and senior opposite
hitter Allison Streicher (Continental), followed by one final ace for Ames locked in the first win of the
season in Founders Hall.
Many Beavers made significant contributions in Wednesday night's victory. Zimmerman
led the attack with 21 kills, honing an impressive .500 hitting percentage. Junior
outside hitter Nicole Wood (Tiffin/Hopewell Loudon) also put down 15 kills, followed by fellow junior outside
Jenna Eshleman (Landisville, Penn./Hempfield) and Streicher, each with seven kills apiece. Directing
the Beaver offense was the dual effort of seniors Streicher and Shauna Rowland (Bucyrus/Wynford). Streicher led with 27 assists and Rowland followed with 17.
Defensively, Schierer and Eshleman led with 24 and 21 digs, respectively. Ames, Rowland
and senior Mandi Leemaster (Freemont/Old Fort) each contributed seven digs apiece. Senior middle hitter Heather Rodman (Mansfield/Mansfield Christian) was a force at the net with two solo blocks and one
block assist. Newcomer Schierer also rifled seven service aces in the effort.
Head Coach Steve Yarnell noted that the home-court advantage once again proved to
be a positive factor in the Beavers' victory against the improved Adrian squad. "We
had a great crowd tonight for our home opener and Adrian gave us a battle. They are
a much improved team from last season and should make some noise and finish in the
top half or their conference. I thought we did some good things but we have a lot
of work to do if we want to achieve all of our goals."
Next, the Beavers travel to Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, to compete in their
first tournament of the season. Their first match of the weekend is against the Fighting
Muskies of Muskingum University this Friday, start time slated for 2:30 p.m. They
immediately follow with a match against the Allegheny College Gators at 4:30 p.m.