DC Volleyball Wins Thriller to Seal Berth into HCAC Semis
Hanover (18-14, 5-4 HCAC)
Defiance (18-12, 6-3 HCAC)
10/30/2012 | Defiance, OH | Attendance: 325
DEFIANCE, Ohio – The Yellow Jacket volleyball team hosted its first home Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament match on Tuesday evening, as Defiance played Hanover in the quarterfinals. The Purple and Gold produced a determined and driven effort to pull out a four-set victory by scores of 25-23, 14-25, 25-22 and 29-27.
The Panthers entered the matchup on a five game winning streak, looking to avenge a hard-fought, five-set loss to the Jackets on October 14. Hanover came out aggressive early and quickly opened up a 13-7 lead. DC then dug in and fought back to even the set score at 21-21. After both teams traded blows back-and-forth to keep the opener tied at 23-23, the Jackets won two consecutive points to grab the first set 25-23. Alexis Pierce put the team on her shoulders for the first, as the junior recorded seven kills and one solo block in the frame.
With Defiance on top 1-0, the Panthers roared back and dominated play in the second stanza. Hanover controlled the tempo and cruised to a comfortable 25-14 second-set win, knotting the match score at one set apiece.
After the lopsided second-set loss, the Jackets showed the grit and resilience they have played with all season. DC quickly built a 17-9 lead, thanks in large part to a Rebecca Kain service run of six-straight points. Hanover once again battled back and evened the set score at 21-21 off an Ashleigh Burakiewicz kill. The Jackets then won four of the last five points to win the third by a score of 25-22.
With Defiance leading the match 2-1, both teams opened the fourth set with a sense of urgency. The set was a see-saw affair that was tied at 19-19 late in the frame, with neither team leading by more than two up to that point. Hanover then reeled off four consecutive points off an ace, a kill and two DC errors to grab a 23-19 lead and was on the verge of forcing a decisive fifth and final set. The Jackets were able to close the deficit to 24-22 and came up with a kill by Pierce followed by an ace by Christa Seidenstricker to level the score at 24-24, sending the Karl H. Weaner Community Center crowd into a frenzy.
With the pressure continually mounting, it turned into a battle of which team could keep its composure. The Jackets managed to fight off three set points before drawing the score even at 27-27. An attack error from the Panthers gave Defiance the break it needed and a match point at 28-27. With the match hanging in the balance, freshman Hailey Walchle produced the biggest kill of her young Yellow Jacket career, ending the match at 29-27 and delivering the Purple and Gold into the semifinal round.
Pierce filled the stat sheet for DC with 16 kills, two aces, eight digs and three blocks. Fellow junior Chelsea Ludeman added nine kills, seven digs and six blocks to bolster the Defiance performance. Another key performer was Walchle, who produced a career night with eight kills and four blocks.
Sophomore setter Alyssa Turton stepped up and distributed a season-high 33 assists while adding two kills and two aces. Senior Lindsay McDaniel and Seidenstricker anchored the back row for DC, as each recorded double-digit dig totals.
The Purple and Gold return to the HCAC Tournament Semifinals for the first time since the 2009 season. The Jackets’ overall record moves to 18-12 and finishes 4-3 at home this season.
DC will travel to Mount St. Joseph on Saturday, November 3 for a showdown against the Lions in the four vs. one match. Mount defeated the Jackets in the first matchup, winning 3-1. The contest is scheduled to begin at 2:00 p.m.