Crusaders Split on Day One of Season Opener

Outside hitter Hanna Ewart. (Jeff Mills photo).
Outside hitter Hanna Ewart. (Jeff Mills photo).


COLUMBUS – The Capital University volleyball team split a pair of matches on day one of the Capital-Otterbein Tournament on Friday evening, defeating Kenyon in four sets, before falling to Maryville (Tenn.) in three sets.

Capital (1-1 overall) is now set for day two of the season opening tournament, as they are scheduled to play Saturday against Alma (Mich.) at 9:30 a.m. and Buffalo St. (N.Y.) at 12 p.m.

In the Crusaders first match against Kenyon, the Ladies took a 1-0 set advantage after scoring six consecutive points in the middle of the initial set, narrowing their deficit to 18-16. Following a point by Capital, Kenyon put together a 9-5 run to take the first set.

The Crusaders fell behind 12-7 in the second set, before a gritty effort led to a tie game at 20 points apiece. Both teams then traded points before Capital tallied three consecutive points to even the match at one game apiece.

With the match tied at 1-1, the Crusaders used the momentum they gained from the end of set two to jump out to a 4-0 lead early on in set three. After falling behind 7-3, Kenyon managed to work their way back into the set, until the Crusaders manufactured two scoring runs of three and five points, as Capital went to win 25-18 heading into the final set.

After again getting off to a stellar start, the Crusaders took a commanding 15-5 lead midway through the fourth set of play. Kenyon then battled back, tying the set at 24 points apiece, but to no avail, as the Crusaders won 26-24, proving victorious in their season opening match in four sets.

Leading the way for Capital was sophomores Hanna Ewart (Wichita, Kan.) and Courtney McCracken (Newark, Ohio), as they tied for the team-lead in kills (13), while McCracken also posted 22 digs.

Freshman Becca Kapavik (Johnstown, Ohio) also helped lead the Crusaders, tallying eight kills and one block assist, while sophomores Kristen Bender (Fremont, Ohio) and Kirsten Nickles (Loudonville, Ohio) each recorded seven kills apiece.

Junior Katie Weilbacher (Grove City, Ohio) led the team in assists (26), while freshman and fellow setter Caitlin McDivitt (Cortland, Ohio) added 21 assists in her inaugural match as a Crusader.

Sophomore Mona Ratliff (South Charleston, Ohio) checked in with five kills for the match.

Capital's second match of the evening featured a contest against Maryville (Tenn.), a team which had defeated Ohio Athletic Conference opponent Baldwin Wallace in three sets earlier Friday evening.

Following a 25-15 defeat in set one, the Crusaders managed to challenge the Scots, battling back to pull within five points at 19-14, before Maryville put together six consecutive points to take a 2-0 match lead.

The Crusaders again found it tough to gain momentum in the third and final set, as they fell behind 13-5 early, before eventually dropping the third set 25-10.

Leading the way for Capital in their second match of the season was Ewart, who recorded a team-high eight kills and three block assists.

McCracken and Bender tallied five and four kills apiece, respectively, while Weilbacher and McDivitt combined for 14 assists. Senior defensive specialist Kelly Leonard (Cincinnati, Ohio) led the team with nine digs for the match.