Senior right-side hitter Melissa Murray and freshman outside hitter Natalie Dieball led the attack as the Ohio Wesleyan volleyball team opened its home season with a four-set, non-conference win over Otterbein on Wednesday at Branch Rickey Arena.
The Bishops defeated the Cardinals by scores of 25-21, 25-23, 22-25, 25-21.
Ohio Wesleyan wiped out a 6-3 deficit with an 8-0 run in the first set, with senior middle blocker Claire Solberg contributing a kill and assisting on 4 blocks, teaming with junior right-side hitter Grace Cummings on 3 of them.
Otterbein closed to within a single point on 2 occasions, the latter at 22-21, but the Bishops finished off the set with a kill by Cummings, an ace from junior setter Olivia Osuna, and a kill by senior outside hitter Kaitlyn Peters. The Cardinals took a 12-7 lead in the second set on a kill by Maddie Mergen, but the Bishops outscored the visitors, 14-5, as Murray and Dieball had 3 kills apiece.
With the score tied at 23, Dieball came through with a kill to put the Bishops ahead to stay, and Ohio Wesleyan closed out the set on a Cardinal setting error.
Otterbein opened the third set with a 6-1 run that included 2 kills from Mergen, and the Cardinals extended the lead to 16-6 on a Morgan Hartman kill.
The Bishops trailed, 19-9, when Solberg teamed up on blocks for 3 straight points, and after Peters chipped in 3 kills, Ohio Wesleyan was within 23-17. Murray followed with 2 more kills during a 5-0 run that made it 24-22, but the Cardinals ended the set on a service error, staying alive in the match.
In the fourth set, Otterbein was within 17-16 after a Hartman kill, but a Peters ace and a Dieball kill gave the Bishops a 4-point lead, and 2 kills from Murray helped make it a 23-19 margin. Cummings then delivered a kill to end the set and the match.
Murray led the Bishops with 15 kills, while Dieball added 10. Osuna recorded 26 assists. Solberg finished with 8 block assists, tying for third place on the Bishops single-match list. Senior defensive specialist Neah White led Ohio Wesleyan with 26 digs.
Junior back Brady West tallied the game’s only goal to lift Ohio Wesleyan over Ohio Northern 1-0 in non-conference action on Wednesday at the Jay Martin Soccer Complex.
Scoring chances were difficult to come by during the first half.
Senior goalkeeper Mason Taylor stopped shots by Ryan Parker in the 26th minute and Colin Gottron in the 40th minute.
Sophomore forward Rowan Kriebel had a shot stopped by Polar Bear keeper Lucas Hickey, but play continued with first Kriebel and then senior back Charlie Riddle heading the ball, keeping it in play. Kriebel then took a shot that hit the arm of a Polar Bear defender for a foul, and West stepped to the spot and converted the penalty kick with 2:08 remaining in the first half.
The Bishop defense protected the shutout during the second half, with Taylor recording saves on attempts by Ryan Sommerfield in the opening seconds of the second half, by Parker in the 51st minute, and by Gavin Marshall in the 81st minute.
“it was a good result,” said Bishop head coach Jay Martin. “It wasn’t a pretty game — when Jaggar (Brooker) went down, the team struggled — but we held it together enough in the second half to get a win. I thought our defense played OK. We can get better and will get better. Mason (Taylor) played well, Brady (West) played very, very well, and (Charlie) Riddle played on top and did well. We’ve got to get better and we’ve got to get tougher.”
Ohio Northern outshot Ohio Wesleyan, 14-11. Taylor recorded 5 saves.
OWU Sports Information contributed to this report.