WILMINGTON, Ohio – The Wilmington College volleyball team kept Bluffton University out of system in the earlier portions of the match, but the Beavers came back from a one-set deficit to win three close sets and take a four-set victory (19-25, 27-25, 26-24, 25-16) at Fred Raizk Arena on Wednesday evening.
The match marked the first time the Fightin’ Quakers had won a set against the Beavers in at least a decade.
Bluffton (7-9) won the match’s first five points, but Wilmington battled back to tie the set 11-11 on a service ace from Blake O’Brien. After both teams traded side outs, setter Andie Dolven stepped up to the service line tied 12-12. She served seven straight times, three of which were aces, to give the hosts a 19-12 lead, an advantage the Quakers would not relinquish.
Wilmington (2-12) built a 12-7 advantage in set two as Bluffton continually struggled with serve receive. The Beavers did tie the set 13-13, however, ensuring it would go down to the wire. A Bluffton attack error later on in the game put the hosts up 22-20, but at 23-23, Elle Price put down a kill to give the visitors set point. The Quakers would fight off that set point and two others, but couldn’t earn a set point of their own as a Beaver kill at 26-25 tied the match.
Set three was close from start to finish as either side led by more than three point at any juncture of the set. Just like in set three, however, it was Bluffton that earned a set point with a kill at 23-23. Wilmington fought it off, but consecutive Quaker attack errors gave the Beavers a 2-1 advantage in the match. Those attack errors proved to be the only in the set for Wilmington, as the hosts put down 13 kills and hit a .379 clip.
In set four, Bluffton, like Wilmington did in the first set, took control with a lengthy service run with the set tied 12-12 and rode that advantage to victory.
The Quakers hit a .131 clip for the match with eight service aces while the Beavers had a .149 attack percentage with a dozen aces. Joy Bebe led the way for Wilmington offensively with 11 kills while Victoria Long had 10. Dolven assisted on 33-of-40 kills and was joined by O’Brien, Sofia Thomas and Sydney Geibel to tally double-digits in digs from the back row.
Kaylie Campbell led Bluffton with 15 kills and a .414 attack percentage while Cassidy Posey put down 14 kills. Maddie White dished out 35 assists while libero Brooke Kleman dug up a match-high 25 balls.
Wilmington heads to Defiance College for a match at noon on Saturday.