Bluffton 3, Hanover 0
November 8, 2015
By: Samantha Granger, sports information assistant
HANOVER, Ind. - For the third straight season the Bluffton University volleyball team earned the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament championship when the Beavers took down #1 seed and tourney host Hanover College in a hard fought three sets (25-18, 25-23, 25-23). The Panthers may have won the battle two weeks ago, but the Beavers won the war and with it the HCAC's automatic berth into the NCAA Division 3 national tournament. Now with the HCAC title again under Bluffton's belt the Beavers will await their NCAA matchup and where the Midwest Regional will be played. The Beavers improved to 19-12 on the season, while Hanover wrapped up its 2015 campaign at 23-9. Congratulations are also in order for Coach Yarnell as the win over Hanover gave him 200 career victories as head coach of the Beavers!
With the lidlifter knotted at 13-13 following back-to-back Hanover scores, Bluffton rolled off eight of the next 11 points to take control at 21-16. Three late Kendra Parmenter (Grove City) kills helped Bluffton put set one away as a Sydney Mohler (Lima/Central Catholic) ace finished it at 25-18.
Bluffton was down 14-8 in the second set when Coach Yarnell was forced to call his final timeout. Although the Beavers pulled within three points (15-12), the home team was still comfortably in control, up 20-15, when Abby Rorhbach (New Knoxville) and Lauren Weisgarber (Bolivar/Tuscarawas Valley) served the visitors into the lead at 22-21. A pair of MacKenzie McFarlin (Ashland) kills sandwiched around a Hanover tally put Bluffton up 2-0 following the 25-23 victory.
Hanover was well on its way to forcing a fourth set, opening up a 17-11 cushion, and still in control at 23-20 before five straight Bluffton points ended the Panthers' season. McFarlin and Jessie Gibson (Warsaw/River View) hammered home kills to make it 23-22 and following a Hanover timeout, the Panthers missed with back-to-back attacks. McFarlin and Lauren Weisgarber stuffed Margo Main on match point as Bluffton completed the miracle comeback!
All three sets were back-and-forth as a couple HCAC heavyweights went toe-to-toe. Parmenter and ERIN WEISGARBER (Bolivar/Tuscarawas Valley) were both named to the All Tournament team, while Jenny Brown (St. Marys/Memorial) was named HCAC Tournament Most Valuable Player. Erin Weisgarber directed the offense with 39 assists and one kill. Parmenter led the front line with 11 kills, while Brown and McFarlin both chipped in 10 kills on the match.
The Beavers were an absolute wall at the net with eight total team blocks. Libero Sydney Mohler finished the match with 20 digs and two service aces, while Lauren Weisgarber chipped in with seven digs and five blocks, including two solos.
The Beavers will find out their opponent and venue on Monday morning at 11 a.m. when the NCAA selection show is broadcast via the NCAA Website. Continue to check the Bluffton Volleyball schedule page for updates throughout the week as the Beavers prepare for their fourth NCAA Regional appearance in the last seven years. It also marks the third consecutive year that Bluffton has won the HCAC tournament title. GO BEAVERS!