Hanover 3, Bluffton 1
November 4, 2017
By: Lynsey Trusty, sports information assistant
HANOVER, Ind. - The Bluffton University volleyball team fought to the end, but #1 seed and tournament host Hanover College moved into the Heartland Conference championship game with a 3-1 victory (25-19, 22-25, 25-23, 25-20) on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017. Hanover improved to 25-5 as Bluffton's season came to an end with a 19-11 mark.
It marks the first time Bluffton has not earned the HCAC automatic berth since 2012, a string that saw the Beavers knock Hanover out of the conference tournament four straight years. The host Panthers will lock horns with Rose-Hulman, led by Bluffton graduate Heather Schierer, at 1 p.m. on Sunday with the winner headed to the NCAA Tournament.
The Panthers used eight straight points to turn a 17-14 deficit into a 22-17 lead in the opener en route to a 25-19 victory. Bluffton led by as many as seven points in set two but needed five straight Abby Rohrbach (New Knoxville) serves to go back ahead 21-19 late. Freshman Sarah Heydinger (Tiro/Buckeye Central) closed it out with a kill for a 25-22 win and match equalizer.
Set three was a roller coaster with both teams trading body punches. The visitors led 23-22, but Hanover scored three straight for a 25-23 victory. Bluffton was again up 18-16 in the fourth set before Hanover closed out the set with a 9-2 run for the match victory.
Bethany Martini (Pickerington/North) led everybody with 23 kills and she added 12 digs. Freshman Remi Bower (Hamler/Patrick Henry) was just one spike shy of her career high with 17 kills against just four errors for a .283 hitting percentage.
Senior Sydney Mohler (Lima/Central Catholic) added to her historic legacy with a team-high 25 digs to go along with eight assists! Junior ring-leader Erin Weisgarber (Bolivar/Tuscarawas Valley) dished out 43 assists and picked up 17 digs. Courtney Zimpfer (Jackson Center) shattered her career best with 23 digs, while Rohrbach finished with 16 pickups.
Congratulations to the Bluffton University volleyball team, especially to the seniors who won three straight Heartland Conference tournament titles while amassing a superlative 30-6 mark in the conference!