Bluffton 3, Defiance 1
November 9, 2014
By: Brittany Roth, sports information assistant
DEFIANCE, Ohio - For the second straight season the Bluffton University volleyball team earned the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament championship at Defiance College when the Beavers took down the host Yellow Jackets 3-1 (25-23, 22-25, 25-19, 25-21). It marked Bluffton's second victory over rival Defiance at the Weaner Center in the past 12 days. With the HCAC title in tow, Bluffton will look forward to the NCAA selection show at 11 AM on Monday to find out who they will meet and where the Midwest Regional will be played. The Beavers improved to 23-11 on the season while Defiance bowed out with an 18-12 mark.
The first set was a back-and-forth affair as a couple HCAC heavyweights went toe-to-toe. With Bluffton down 22-21, juniors Kendra Parmenter (Grove City) and Jenny Brown (St. Marys/Memorial) answered the bell for a 23-22 advantage as Defiance called timeout. Meredith Shank fired back for the Yellow Jackets, inducing a Coach Yarnell timeout, but Brown and MacKenzie McFarlin (Ashland) responded with back-to-back kills for the 25-23 win in the lidlifter.
The second set was just as competitive as the first, but Defiance rolled off the final four points for a 25-22 victory after trailing 22-21. Two early Defiance aces had the Jackets up 6-1 in the third before Bluffton roared back with 13 of the next 16 points for a 14-9 lead following another Bluffton timeout. The home fought back to knot the score at 15, however, the Beavers rolled off 10 of the final 14 counters for a 25-19 win and 2-1 lead in the match.
The fourth set was a series of runs as Defiance used a six-point jag and a four-point spurt to go up 12-7 midway through the clincher. A six-point rally followed by seven consecutive serves from Becca Tourney (Columbia City, Ind.) proved to be the difference with Bluffton taking a commanding 24-19 lead late in the set. HCAC Tournament Most Valuable Player MacKenzie McFarlin put an exclamation point on the weekend with her match-finishing kill as the Beavers wrapped up their second straight HCAC tourney title and third in the past six years.
McFarlin hammered the Jackets with a match-high 21 kills against just four errors for a sterling .347 hitting percentage. She was also in on two block assists. Parmenter and Brown were up to the challenge as well, ripping 15 winners apiece in the victory. Senior Ashley Litwiller (Hopedale, Ill./Olympia) and Lauren Weisgarber (Bolivar/Tuscarawas Valley) chipped in with six spikes each.
Junior captain Sara Roth (Findlay/Van Buren) kept Bluffton's offense chugging with 54 assists on Sunday. Freshman libero Sydney Mohler (Lima/Central Catholic) led five Beavers in double figures with a career-high tying 27 digs. Roth and Tourney picked up 12 and 11, respectively, while Weisgarber and Erin Helms (Arlington) both added 10 digs. Roth and Brown joined MVP McFarlin on the HCAC All-Tournament Team.
The Beavers will find out their opponent and venue on Monday morning when the NCAA selection show is broadcast via the internet. Continue to check the Bluffton Volleyball Schedule page for updates throughout the week as the Beavers prepare for their third NCAA Regional appearance in the last six years. It also marks the first time that a Bluffton team has won back-to-back HCAC tournament titles. GO BEAVERS!