Bluffton holds off Wilmington in 4-set match

BLUFFTON — The Wilmington College volleyball team battled Bluffton University to a close four-set loss 25-21, 27-29, 25-18, 25-23 Wednesday evening.

In set one, the host Beavers won the first four points, but the Fightin’ Quakers would battle back to tie the set 14-14 on a kill from Victoria Long. A kill from Joy Bebe and a block from Bebe and Lili Green followed, putting the visitors ahead 16-14. Wilmington would hold that advantage until a service error gave the hosts the ball trailing 21-20. Bluffton, thanks to a service run from Courtney Weekley, served out the final five points of the set to go up 1-0. Wilmington ensured set two would end differently, though it looked similar as the Quakers led 21-20. The teams would trade side outs for 14 points as the Beavers would fight off four matches points, but not the fifth as Andie Dolven put down a kill at 28-27 to level the match 1-1.

The Beavers hit a .344 clip in set three, their highest of the match, while holding the Quakers to a .118 attack percentage, their lowest of the match, to once again go up a set. Set four was tightly-contested with the largest lead being Bluffton by four (13-9), but the hosts held that slim advantage for the rest of the set. A Jenna Woods kill at 24-23 gave the Beavers the match.

Bluffton led slight advantages in kills (67-54), hitting percentage (.241-.184) and service aces (7-6) while Wilmington led in the blocks category 8-7.

Joy Bebe and Sofia Thomas had 25 of WC’s 54 kills while Sarah Brown and Bailey Pohlman chipped in seven kills each. Andie Dolven assisted on 38 kills while putting down eight balls of her own while Blake O’Brien added 27 digs. Defensively in the front row, Pohlman had five blocks while Bebe added three.

Wilmington will face Defiance College at home on Friday. First serve from Fred Raizk Arena is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.