Bluffton opens MSJ tourney with a pair of wins
Beavers move to 10-3 with 2-0 start in Mt. St. Joseph tournament
September 26, 2009
By: Erin Neal, Sports Information assistant
CINCINNATI, Ohio - In an impressive Saturday start to the two-day tournament at Mount St. Joseph, the Bluffton University Beavers defeated two OAC competitors, Baldwin Wallace and Otterbein. The Beavers beat the Yellow Jackets 3-1 (25-15, 25-19, 23-25, 25-13), then went on to take down the Cardinals in five sets (25-20, 19-25, 21-25, 25-23, 15-8). With the two victories on the day, the Beavers improved to 10-3, which is the best start to a season that a Bluffton volleyball team has had since the mid-nineties.
In the first match of the day, the Beavers rolled to a steady victory over the Jackets. Leading the attack for the Beavers was the outside hitter sophomore duo of Jenna Eshleman (Landisville, Penn./Hempfield) and Nicole Wood (Tiffin/Hopewell Loudon), with 15 and 13 kills, respectively. They were followed by a sound performance from Courtney Zimmerman (Leesburg/Fairfield) with eight kills and senior Michele Rosen (Harrison) with six. The offense was directed by junior setter Shauna Rowland (Bucyrus/Wynford), who dished out a notable 43 assists.
The Beaver defense also proved to be key in the victory. Junior Kayla Pickering (Jamestown/Greenview) led with 20 digs, libero Brittany Roth (Findlay) scooped up 14 and Eshleman added 14 digs of her own. Freshman Brooke Distel (Carey) led defensive efforts at the net as she tallied five blocks.
Following the win over Baldwin Wallace, Bluffton found itself in an afternoon battle with Otterbein College. The Beavers won out in a decisive fifth set, with Eshleman, Zimmerman, and Wood once again leading the offensive attack. Eshleman and Zimmerman pounded down 13 kills, while Wood smashed 10 of her own. Rowland rounded out another double-double as she dished out 51 assists while picking up 16 digs. Defensively, Roth led with 20 digs, followed by Eshleman with nine, and freshman Trenna Marcum (Tiro/Buckeye Central) and Pickering each had nine apiece. The Beavers also served up seven aces for the win.
Next, the Beavers return for their second and final day at the tournament by taking on #5 Ohio Northern University at 10:30 a.m. and Marietta College at 2:30 p.m. The spikers then return to home-court action when they host another Ohio Athletic Conference squad, Wilmington College, in Founders Hall this Wednesday, September 30, with a start time slated for 7 p.m.