#10 Wittenberg 3, Bluffton 0
By: Brittany Roth, sports information assistant
November 14, 2013
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The Bluffton University volleyball team kicked off the NCAA tournament at Calvin College against #2 seed and #10 nationally-ranked Wittenberg on Thursday, Nov. 14. Despite matching up with a formidable Wittenberg squad that has not lost to a NCAA Division III program ranked outside the top 15 in the most recent AVCA poll, the Beavers gave it their all in a three-set loss to the Tigers in the opening match at #1 Calvin College.
The Beavers were able to get a couple practices in on Calvin's court before playing the match. That time in the gym helped with the transition for the NCAA atmosphere that they experienced on Thursday afternoon. A 6-1 spurt by Wittenberg in the lidlifter proved too much to overcome as Bluffton fell by a 25-16 count.
Once the butterflies headed south for the winter, Bluffton showed that it was deserving of a berth in the NCAA Tournament. The second and third sets were more competitive on Bluffton's end and the Beavers were able to keep the Tigers out of system at different points throughout the rest of the match. Three straight points by the Beavers forced Wittenberg to call a timeout with the score 22-18 in the second, but the Tigers responded with three of the next four points to go up 2-0 with the 25-19 victory.
The two foes battled early in the third set with the score squared away at eight before a pair of Andrea Behling kills led to a timeout from Coach Yarnell at 10-8 Wittenberg. The Beavers were still within three at 18-15 before the Tigers put an end to Bluffton's magical run with the 25-20 clincher and sweep.
Leading Bluffton's offense was Kendra Parmenter (Grove City) with 11 kills. She was followed by Jenny Brown (St. Marys/Memorial) with five. Freshmen Lauren Weisgarber (Bolivar/Tuscarawas Valley), Adrienne Shepard (Arlington), and MacKenzie McFarlin (Ashland) all tallied four kills apiece. Sophomore Sara Roth (Findlay/Van Buren) led the Beavers in assists with 14. She was followed by Brooke Ruffer (Stryker) who had 12 helpers. Senior captain Hailey Phillips (Malinta/Patrick Henry) paced Bluffton's back row with nine digs in her final match. Roth finished with eight and Ruffer picked up six digs for the Beavers.
As a young team which was able to accomplish more than a 6th seed ever has in the Heartland Conference tournament, the Beavers wrapped up their season with a 16-19 mark.