Bluffton 3, Defiance 0
November 1, 2017
By: Lynsey Trusty, sports information assistant
BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University volleyball team had its work cut out for it with rival Defiance College looking to upset the Beavers, but #4 seed Bluffton swatted the Yellow Jackets away after three tough sets (25-23, 25-14, 25-23) on Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017. It marked the first HCAC tournament match Bluffton has hosted since the Beavers downed Defiance 3-0 on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011, ironically enough, in Founders Hall. Bluffton improved to 19-10, while Defiance wrapped up its season at 10-13. Bluffton moves into the Heartland Conference semi-final round where the Beavers will face off with long-time tournament nemesis and #1 seed Hanover College!
The home team trailed 10-7 in the lidlifter, prompting Coach Yarnell to use his first timeout. Bluffton responded with 12 of the next 16 points to open a 19-14 spread. Defiance tied it up at 22-22 before a Jessie Gibson (Warsaw/River View) kill and Sydney Mohler (Lima/Central Catholic) ace pushed the Beavers to a 25-23 victory.
Three Abby Rohrbach (New Knoxville) aces followed by another one from Sydney Mohler helped the Beavers to a quick 7-2 lead in set two. Rohrbach sandwiched six more serves around a Defiance College timeout en route to a commanding 18-7 spread her next time at the line. Freshman Remi Bower (Hamler/Patrick Henry) and junior Carly Lester (Chesapeake) pounded winners for points 24 and 25 as Bluffton went up two sets to none.
The third set was another slugfest with both teams taking their turns on top. Bluffton trailed 19-16 before making a final run at the match. Heavy hitter Bethany Martini (Pickerington/North) rammed home back-to-back kills for a 23-21 Beaver lead and she finished it with another on set point as the Beavers squeaked out their second 25-23 win of the evening.
Martini led the front liners with 16 kills on 53 swings and she also added 13 digs. Carly Lester knocked home seven kills against just one error for a superb .353 hitting percentage. Erin Weisgarber (Bolivar/Tuscarawas Valley) was her typical outstanding self, doling out 36 assists to go along with 11 digs and eight kills for a sparkling .389 hitting percentage. Gibson had six kills and no errors for a red-hot .400 hitting percentage! Bower chipped in with seven spikes for the victors.
Sydney Mohler continued to add to her legacy with a match-high 30 digs which were all crucial in the tournament victory. Rohrbach was also a huge factor with 15 digs and three second-set aces.
Bluffton will take its talents to Hanover once again for the Heartland Conference tournament. It will mark the fifth straight year that Bluffton has matched up with Coach Preocanin and his Panthers in the HCAC tourney. The first serve is slated for 2 p.m. in Collier Arena.