WILMINGTON, Ohio – In its final home matches of the 2021 spring season, the Wilmington College volleyball team split an Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) twinbill with Capital University on Tuesday evening. The Fightin’ Quakers took match one 19-25, 25-19, 21-25, 25-19, 15-12 and fell in match two 25-21, 25-17, 25-23.
In match one, Capital took set one 25-19, but Wilmington countered by winning set two, its first of the season, by the same score. The Crusaders, looking for their first match victory of the 2021 spring season, took a 2-1 lead with a 25-19 set three victory, but the Quakers counterpunched winning four by the same score they won set two.
Set five did not start out well for the hosts as the visitors won four of the first five points forcing Wilmington Head Coach Andy Riesenberg to call timeout. His team responded, rattling off five straight points off the serve of Blake O’Brien forcing Capital Head Coach Amanda Hubbard to burn her first timeout. The Crusaders battled back to take an 11-10, but two attack errors alongside setting error and a service ace from Macee Hamilton gave Wilmington four set points. Capital fought off one of them, but an attack error gave the hosts the set 15-11 and the match.
Both teams had exactly 53 kills with Capital holding a slightly better attack percentage (.153 to .127). Wilmington countered by controlling the serve-and-pass game better to the tune of 11 service aces and only six reception errors. The Crusaders held a slight 8-7 edge in total blocks.
Rachel Kennedy led all individuals with 20 kills on 54 swings while Victoria Logan had a dozen kills and hit a .226 clip. Sofia Thomas and McKenzie Stringer combined to assist on 44 of Wilmington’s 53 kills while Karley Schlensker had a team-best 17 digs. A trio of Crusaders – Miranda Jordan, Delanie Nahikian and Audrey James – combined for 39 kills. Libero Erin O’Connell added a tema-best 23 digs.
In the nightcap, Capital cruised to a 2-0 lead, but Wilmington took command in set three with a long service run from Schlensker gave the hosts a 14-9 advantage and forced a Capital timeout. The visitors would battle back to tie the set 21-21, but an attack error followed by a Victoria Long kill setup the hosts two points away from forcing a fourth set. Unfortunately, Capital won the next four points, three of which came from Wilmington attack errors, to win the match in straight sets.
Capital, which switched to a 5-1 attack in match two, was led by Mackenzie Halliday’s 33 assists. James and Nahikian tallied double digits in kills. For the Quakers, Kennedy tallied 13 kills with Schlensker tallied a team-best 20 digs. Joe Bebe added a .286 attack percentage to go along with three blocks.
Wilmington (1-13, 1-13 OAC) will conclude its 2021 spring season with a pair of matches at John Carroll University on Friday.