After rounding out the bulk of the non-conference schedule over the first three weeks of the season, North Coast volleyball teams will kick off league play this week with seven total matches on the slate, led by Ohio Wesleyan hosting Wooster on Friday night at 7:00 p.m., and Hiram traveling to Wittenberg on Saturday for a 1:00 p.m. start.
ALLEGHENY collected three wins last weekend at the St. John Fisher Tournament against D’Youville, 3-0, Alfred, 3-2, and Buffalo State, 3-0. Junior setter Justine Kelly (Seattle, WA/Mountlake Terrace) was the spark plug for the Gators’ offensive unit last week as she handed out 135 set assists in 14 total sets for a 9.64 assists/set average. She also added 26 digs, 13 kills and four aces in the four matches combined.
DENISON dropped a 3-0 decision against Ohio Northern on Tuesday, before going 2-2 at the OWU Bishops Invitational, defeating Grove City, 3-1, and Westminster, 3-2. In five total matches last week, junior middle hitter Leah Reinfranck (Northbrook, IL/Glenbrook North) led the Big Red with 59 kills against just 15 errors in 140 total attempts for a .314 hitting percentage.
DEPAUW, which appears in the “Others Receiving Votes” portion of the AVCA Top-25, moved its record to 10-3 after posting a 4-1 record last week, which included an impressive 3-0 home victory over No. 6 Hope on Friday as part of the DPU Tigers Invitational. The Tigers have now knocked off the AVCA’s sixth-ranked team twice this season as they also defeated than No. 6 Washington (MO) by a 3-1 margin on September 2. Sophomore outside hitter Suzanne Peters (Ft. Wayne, IN/Homestead), who was named to the all-tournament team, displayed versatility on the court for the Tigers last week with 52 digs, 47 kills, 28 set assists, four blocks and two aces.
HIRAM went a perfect 3-0 at the Kalamazoo Tournament with three straight-set victories over Anderson, Finlandia and Kalamazoo. Senior Laura Kelly (Massillon, OH/Jackson) led the Terriers over the three matches with 31 kills, 38 digs and seven aces, which included posting 13 kills, 10 digs and five aces in the victory over Finlandia.
KENYON reeled off four wins last weekend at its home invitational over Earlham, Albion, Olivet and Franklin. At 10-3 overall, the Ladies are now off to their best start to a season since both the 1988 and 1989 squads opened their campaigns with 11-2 records. Sophomore outside hitter Delaney Swanson (Sonoma, CA/Sonoma Valley) turned in another quality week for KC with a team-leading 44 kills, which included a 14-kill, 20-dig performance in the 3-1 victory over Albion.
OBERLIN went 1-2 in non-conference action last week, falling to John Carroll, 3-0, before splitting a pair of matches on Saturday at Wooster’s Ginny Hunt Kilt Classic, with a 3-0 victory over Marietta and a 3-1 loss against Pitt.-Bradford. Senior setter Meredith Leung (Lomita, CA/Rolling Hills Prep) was named to the all-tournament team at Wooster after handing out 34 set assists in the two tournament matches.
OHIO WESLEYAN, which appears in the “Others Receiving Votes” portion of the AVCA Top-25, posted a perfect 4-0 record last weekend at its own Bishop Invitational with a pair of 3-0 victories over Grove City and Muskingum and two 3-1 triumphs over Defiance and Adrian. Senior right-side hitter Shelby Ksiazek (Littleton, CO/Regis Jesuit) was named the most valuable player at the Bishop Invitational after finishing the two-day event with 48 kills, 16 blocks and seven digs, which included a pair of 15-kill performances against Defiance and Adrian.
WITTENBERG, ranked eighth in the AVCA Top-25, put its national-ranking to the test last weekend at its own Fall Classic. The Tigers opened the two-day event on Friday with a thrilling 3-1 victory over No. 1 Cal Lutheran in a re-match of the 2015 national championship match, before splitting a pair of matches on Saturday with a 3-1 victory over No. 22 Elmhurst and a 3-1 setback against No. 3 Calvin. Junior outside hitter Maddie Fischer (Minerva, OH/Minerva) was named to the all-tournament team after finishing the tournament with 42 kills against just 11 errors in 110 total attempts for a .281 hitting percentage, which included a 21-kill effort in the win over Elmhurst.
WOOSTER dominated its opponents at the net in the Ginny Hunt Kilt Classic last weekend in Wooster, as the Scots recorded 36 total blocks en route to a perfect 4-0 record at the event. The Scots opened the classic with a 11 blocks against Bluffton, which included a shared block from sophomore Marija Cyvas (Downers Grove, IL/Benet Acad.) and senior Lydia Webster (Fredericktown, OH/Fredericktown) on the match-point in the fifth set. Webster was also named to the all-tournament team after she went on to finish the two-day event with 35 kills, 19 blocks, 16 digs and six aces.