Written By: Sutton Jacobs '18
Granville, Ohio – The Wittenberg women's volleyball team, recently boosted from fifth-ranked to fourth, turned the tables at Denison University with a 3-1 (21-25, 25-18, 25-19, 25-10) comeback over the Big Red during the Wednesday night showdown on the road.
Who Stood Out
The Tigers brought the noise to Granville as three starters tallied 10 or more kills. Senior Kennedy Schmidt was the team's kill leader for the night, smashing 18 points in Wittenberg's favor. Karen Wildemann, senior, once again led in assists and tops her own match-best, racking up 47. The Tigers outpaced the Big Red throughout the match-up in service aces 12-4, kills 60-37, and attack percentage 0.243 to 0.152.
Schmidt proved to be a leader on the court through the night not only leading in kills, but also sported a .750 hitting percentage from 24 total attacks, marked as the team's best attack percentage in a match this season. Aubrey Cox, junior, closely followed suit with her 13 kills for an attack percentage of .407 from 27 attacks.
First Set Breakdown
Denison would draw first blood, taking the first three points of the night to the credit of two attack errors by the Tigers. Not long after, Wittenberg was able to rally three of their own points, including two service aces hot off the hands of senior Taylor Brown, who ended the night with four.
The Tigers fell behind midway through the set after catching up to tie 10-10, pausing twice with timeouts. Wittenberg was able to return to the floor refreshed for a 7-2 run. Cox gave the helping hand, contributing three straight kills and a block in the Wittenberg rally. The Tigers were unable to hold onto their momentum, dropping the first set 25-21.
Second Set Breakdown
The Tigers bounce back as the Big Red were unable to capitalize on their one set lead. Down a point, Megan Flaherty entered to serve for the Tigers, leading to an unopposed six-point rally for the lead. Twice thereafter, Denison was able to rally and bring the score within a margin of four. The Big Red couldn't block Schmidt, who powered six kills in the second set alone. Cox brought the set to a close, serving an ace to mid-court to tie up the match, 1-1.
Third Set Breakdown
Wittenberg returned to the floor ready to rally. Haley Horner, sophomore, placed the second serve of the set into the back corner to give Wittenberg the lead early, 2-0. Wittenberg later moved the ball around to quiet Denison with an 8-2 run. Taylor Yontz, senior, was given the nod for an ace and a kill, while Cox added two kills herself.
A handful of attacks missing their marks by the Tigers gave Denison some confidence. The brief glimpse of hope by the Big Red was soon squandered as Wittenberg rounded out the set with an 8-4 rally. Brown led the way with two kills, an ace and an assist. A dive and miss by Denison off the touch of Schmidt gave Wittenberg the last point of the set.
Fourth Set Breakdown
The Tigers defeated the Big Red from the first serve, demolishing the opposition in a 25-10 sweep. Wittenberg took the first point of the set and never relinquished the lead. A 10-2 run was highlighted by two kills by Horner, two Wildemann aces and an ace and kill to the credit of Cox. From there, the Tigers squash the Big Red in another 10-3 run, resulting in a Denison timeout.
Three kills by Schmidt and a handful of errors by the opposition paved way for the Wittenberg 5-2 sweep to round out the night. Cox tallied another two kills while Schmidt gave the final blow with a kill from the volley of Wildemann to end the match.
From The Bench
"I'm proud of the way the team battled tonight. It took us a little longer than it normally does to get things jiving, but we settled in and played a consistent match the rest of the way," said head coach Evelyn Carus, "It was truly a team effort tonight. Aubrey Cox and Kennedey Schmidt we're unstoppable, and we as a unit know that doesn't come without great first and second contacts."
Wittenberg will pack their bags for Fall Break and head to Ohio Wesleyan on Saturday, Oct. 13 for NCAC action against the Battling Bishops. The fourth-ranked Tigers, still undefeated in conference play, look to defeat the Bishops on their home court at 1:00 PM.