Defiance 3, Bluffton 1
By: Brittany Roth, sports information assistant
Oct. 30, 2013
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University volleyball team gave rival Defiance College all it wanted for three sets, but the Yellow Jackets put it all together in the fourth set en route to an exciting 3-1 victory and first-ever Heartland Conference championship on Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013. The Beavers dipped to 12-17 overall and 4-4 in the HCAC, while Defiance improved to 22-5 with an unblemished 8-0 mark in the conference.
The Beavers came out ready to go against their rival Yellow Jackets in the first set. The two squads went back and forth for the first several points, but then Bluffton pulled away with the help of serving runs by freshman MacKenzie McFarlin (Ashland), sophomore Brooke Ruffer (Stryker) and sophomore Sara Roth (Findlay/Van Buren). The Beavers defeated the Yellow Jackets 25-16 to set a statement in set one.
Set two was a battle with six tie scores and three lead changes. Scores were tight at the beginning but then mid-way through the set the Yellow Jackets had a few runs which put the Beavers down by nine. With a run led by seven straight serves from Ruffer, Bluffton came back within two before falling 25-21. Although the Beavers rallied from six down to tied the score at 23, Defiance finished with two straight counters for a 25-23 win. During the fourth set Bluffton ran out of gas, falling 25-14 to close out the match.
Commanding the offense was Ruffer who had 38 assists. Jenny Brown (St. Marys/Memorial) hit an unheard of .682 and had a match-high 16 kills. Kendra Parmenter (Grove City) added 10 spikes while Lauren Weisgarber (Bolivar/Tuscarawas Valley), McFarlin and Adrienne Shepard (Arlington) tallied seven kills apiece. The defense was led by senior libero Hailey Phillips (Malinta/Patrick Henry) who had 14 digs. Ruffer rifled six aces for Bluffton from the service line.
Bluffton travels to Kentucky to play in their final conference match against Transylvania on Saturday with the first serve at 1 p.m. By virtue of Manchester's five-set win over Anderson, the Beavers earned a berth in their sixth straight Heartland Conference tournament and will likely go to Mount St. Joseph next Tuesday, Nov. 5.