Mt. St. Joseph 3, Bluffton 0
Mt. St. Joseph ends Bluffton's season in HCAC semifinals
November 8, 2008
CINCINNATI, Ohio - The Bluffton University volleyball team saw its dream season come to an end at the hands of the top-seeded Mt. St. Joseph Lions on Saturday, November 8, 2008. After dispatching the Panthers of Hanover in the quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon, Bluffton ran out of steam as the Lions moved into the HCAC championship match against no. 2 Defiance.
Bluffton ended its season 21-10 overall, winning more matches than the Beavers had in the previous two seasons combined. MSJ improved to 27-10 and they will be looking to return to the NCAA Division III tournament after missing out on the festivities a year ago when Hanover represented the HCAC.
Freshman Nicole Wood (Tiffin/Hopewell-Loudon) was the lone Beaver to record double digits in kills, knocking home 12 while hitting at a .226 clip for the match. Christiana Sindelar (Napoleon) and Jenna Eshleman (Landisville, Penn./Hempfield) added five spikes each for Bluffton.
Pacing Bluffton from the back row was junior libero Brittany Roth (Findlay) who notched 18 digs. Eshleman tallied 12 digs while sophomore setter Shauna Rowland (Bucyrus/Wynford) added 11 digs. Rowland set up the Bluffton hitters with 24 assists, putting together her fourth double-double in as many matches.
Bluffton freshman Nicole Wood was the lone Beaver named to the 2008 HCAC All-Tournament Team. She finished with 23 kills and just six errors for a .293 hitting percentage, including hitting .370 in the three-set victory over Hanover.
The Beavers wrapped up their best campaign since 1998, finishing with 10 victories in the final 12 matches of the year. Bluffton won its final four HCAC regular-season contests and claimed wins over each team in the HCAC except MSJ and Anderson which were the top two squads in the pre-season coaches' poll.