Volleyball Falls Short to Cross-Town Rival Otterbein

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


COLUMBUS - The Capital University volleyball team was defeated in five sets against cross-town Otterbein in the Crusaders' Ohio Athletic Conference opener of the 2014 season.

Capital (8-13 overall, 0-1 OAC) jumped out to a steady pace in set one, taking an early 5-1 lead, prompting an Otterbein timeout.

The Crusaders then extended their lead to as many as nine points at 23-14, eventually winning the first set, 25-18.

Otterbein then responded in the second set with a very similar pace as Capital had in set one, taking an early 6-1 advantage over the Crusaders. Capital then cut their deficit to three points, but would not come any closer, falling 25-12 in set two.

In the third set, the Cardinals gained a 5-1 lead, before the Crusaders rallied to tie the game at six points apiece. Capital then took its first lead of the game at 7-6, adding two additional points to initiate a timeout by Otterbein.

Capital then surrendered its lead at 15-14, before manufacturing an 11-7 scoring run to earn a slim 25-22 win, earning a 2-1 match lead.

Set four was again a change in roles, as both teams battled back and forth throughout the entire set, only to award the Cardinals with a 25-19 set victory, tying the match at two sets apiece.

The fifth and final set was in favor of Otterbein early on, as they put together an early 4-1 advantage, but the Crusaders proved tough to beat, rallying back to pull to within three points of the Cardinals multiple times.

However, Otterbein eventually took control over the final points, wrapping up the match victory with a 15-12 set win.

Leading the way for the Crusaders were a pair of sophomores in Hanna Ewart (Wichita, Kan.) and Courtney McCracken (Newark, Ohio), who each registered 13 kills apiece. 

Classmate Kristen Bender (Fremont, Ohio) followed with seven kills of her own to go along with a pair of solo blocks.

Senior LeAnna Cotton (Okeechobee, Fla.) and sophomore Mona Ratliff (South Charleston, Ohio) each checked in with five kills apiece. Ratliff also tallied two solo blocks and a trio of block assists.

Defensively, senior Kelly Leonard (Cincinnati, Ohio) led the Crusaders with 21 digs, while freshman Jessica Winstel (Milford, Ohio) followed with 16 digs and a pair of service aces.

Junior Katie Weilbacher (Grove City, Ohio) led Capital with 39 assists.

With the loss, the Crusaders are now set to continue OAC play this weekend, as they travel to Mount Union for a tri-match against the Purple Raiders and Hope College.

Capital's match against Mount Union is scheduled for a 12 p.m. start, followed by the Crusaders matchup against Hope at 2 p.m. in Alliance, Ohio.