Bluffton 3, Defiance 0
October 29, 2014
By: Brittany Roth, sports information assistant
DEFIANCE, Ohio - The road to the Heartland Conference tournament championship will run through Defiance for the second consecutive season and that appears to be just fine with a Bluffton University volleyball team that ended the Jackets bid for a second straight 9-0 mark in the HCAC. Bluffton rallied for a 28-26 win in the lidlifter before routing the home team 25-15 and 25-19 for a three-set sweep of rival Defiance College.
The Beavers improved to 20-8 overall and 7-2 in the Heartland Conference, while Defiance suffered its first HCAC loss in two years, dropping to 17-11 and 8-1 in league play. It marks the fifth time in the last seven years that the Beavers have topped the 20-win mark. Bluffton's sweep of Defiance, coupled with Hanover's loss to Mount St. Joseph, assured the Beavers of the #2 seed in next week's HCAC tournament. The Beavers will play the winner of next Wednesday night's #3/6 match at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 8 in Defiance College's Weaner Center.
A 15-10 lead in the opener disappeared quickly as Defiance went on a 12-5 run, forcing Coach Yarnell to call a timeout with Bluffton down, 22-20. Back-to-back Lauren Weisgarber (Bolivar/Tuscarawas Valley) kills induced a Defiance timeout at 22-22. The visitors trailed 24-23, but came back to take set one by a 28-26 count. Bluffton took control of set two early, rolling to 8-2 and 14-7 leads as the Jackets trailed by as many as 11 while going down two sets to none. An 11-1 run by the Beavers early in set three powered Bluffton to a 25-19 win in the clincher.
Junior captain Sara Roth (Findlay/Van Buren) kept Bluffton's offense running like a well-oiled machine with 46 assists in just three sets. She also picked up a dozen digs for the victors. Freshmen Sydney Mohler (Lima/Central Catholic) and Erin Helms (Arlington) also reached double figures with 14 and 11 digs, respectively. Ashley Litwiller (Hopedale, Ill./Olympia) and Lauren Weisgarber were in on three blocks apiece.
Bluffton hitters were virtually unstoppable on the night, led by sophomore MacKenzie McFarlin (Ashland) who topped all attackers with 16 kills and had just two errors for a .378 hitting percentage. Filling up the middle was junior standout Jenny Brown (St. Marys/Memorial) who ripped 13 winners against only two errors for a red-hot .440 hitting percentage. Junior Kendra Parmenter (Grove City) terrorized Defiance in the first set, racking up nine of her 13 kills, including the set winner, in Bluffton 28-26 victory.
The Beavers will wrap up their regular season with a trip to the Benedictine University Eagle Classic this weekend in Lisle, Ill. Bluffton opens with #16 Elmhurst at 4 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 31, before tangling with a University of Chicago squad that is also receiving votes in the national poll. #17 Carthage and host Benedictine are on the docket for Saturday as the Beavers get ready to defend their Heartland Conference tournament championship when they head to Defiance on Saturday, Nov. 8.