Crusaders Suffer a Pair of Defeats

Senior Kelly Leonard. (Jeff Mills photo).
Senior Kelly Leonard. (Jeff Mills photo).


COLUMBUS – The Capital University volleyball team suffered a pair of losses on day two of the Capital-Otterbein Tournament on Saturday, falling 3-1 against Alma (Mich.) in match one, followed by a 3-2 defeat to Buffalo St. (N.Y.) in the second contest.

In game one on Saturday morning, the Crusaders faced Alma, a team which came in 2-0 in its first two matches of the season played at Otterbein on Friday.

Capital (1-3 overall) fell behind 10-1 early on in the first set and never did gain any momentum, eventually dropping set one by a final score of 25-10.

Set two proved to be much different for the Crusaders, as they battled the Scots throughout the entire set, where at one point Capital held a 15-12 advantage. However, Alma then put together a 4-0 run, to which they never looked back, taking the second set at 25-21.

The third set featured an impressive performance by the Crusaders, as they managed to steadily increase and maintain their lead, going up by as many as seven points. Alma managed to cut into the Capital lead, but to no avail, as the Crusaders took set three by a final score of 25-20.

Capital's fourth and final set was again a battle for the majority of the game, as the Scots took a 10-5 advantage early on, before the Crusaders got back into the contest, narrowing their deficit to three points numerous times. However, Alma did not let Capital pull any closer, tallying set four in their favor at 25-16.

Leading the way for the Crusaders were sophomores Hanna Ewart (Wichita, Kan.) and Courtney McCracken (Newark, Ohio), as they each posted eight kills apiece. Classmate Kristin Bender (Fremont, Ohio) followed with six kills of her own, while three additional Crusaders tallied three kills apiece.

Senior Kelly Leonard (Cincinnati, Ohio) led the team in digs (17), while McCracken, junior Katie Weilbacher (Grove City, Ohio) and freshman Caitlin McDivitt (Cortland, Ohio) each recorded 12 digs. Weilbacher also posted a team-high 22 assists.

Freshman Jessica Winstel (Milford, Ohio) chipped in 10 digs for the match.  

In the second match, Capital dropped the first two frames against Buffalo St., before rallying to secure sets three and four, sending the match to a fifth and final set.

The Crusaders fell behind 7-2 early on in the fifth set, but then manufactured a 5-2 run to come within just two points of the Bengals. However, a few miscues by Capital led to a 15-11 defeat and secured the Crusaders third loss of the season.

Leading the way for the Crusaders in their second match was Ewart, recording a team-high 19 kills, while also adding five digs.

McCracken followed with 13 kills of her own to go along with 14 digs, while sophomore Mona Ratliff (South Charleston, Ohio) added eight kills of her own. A total of seven Crusaders posted at least three kills for the match.

Leonard again led the Crusaders total digs (32), while Weilbacher led the team in assists (44). 

Capital was represented on the all-tournament team by Leonard after her stellar effort over the two day tournament. The remainder of the all-tournament team was made up of Alma's Hannah Guilford, Baldwin Wallace's Markena Winters, Buffalo State's Jenn Cecchitini, Case Western's Katie Best, Kenyon's Rachael Thorson, Maryville's Rachel Kozemko, and Otterbein's Kim Barker. 

With the season opening tournament complete, Capital will look to rebound in their next match at Denison on Sept. 3. The match is slated for a 7 p.m. start time in Granville, Ohio.