Crusaders Take Care of Otterbein in Three, Advance to Semis

Crusaders Take Care of Otterbein in Three, Advance to Semis
WESTERVILLE, Ohio – The Capital University volleyball team turned down crosstown rival Otterbein University in straight sets (25-18, 25-19, 25-20) on Tuesday night. The win advances the Crusaders to the semi-final round of the OAC Volleyball Tournament to face off against John Carroll University on Thursday, Nov. 6.

The ending of set one fed right into set two, which created a 2-0 advantage in favor of the Crusaders (12-19). Tied 16-16 in the opening frame, Capital went on a 4-0 run that began with a Courtney McCracken kill. Caitlin McDivit took to the service line and continued the run before handing over a four-point lead to Kelly Leonard. The combination of McCracken and junior Katie Weilbacher helped finish the set off with three straight kills to close out the set, 25-18.

Capital jumped right back in the saddle by scoring the first three points of the second set and continuing that run to stampede out to a 7-3 lead over the Cardinals. Within that string of action, Otterbein (16-14) committed three attack errors, one blocking error, and surrendered a block to LeAnna Cotton on the front line. Capital blew its lead open to as many as six points and later McDivit led the team on a run to extend that lead to eight points. Errors continued to plague the Cardinals, as the second set ended on a bad set by Otterbein's Lauren Blumberg.

The third set actually favored Otterbein early with a four-point lead, but Capital stormed back to erase that deficit and tied the game back up at 12-12. The breakaway point took place when Mona Ratliff put together back-to-back kills to put Capital up three points and induce a timeout by the hosts. Weilbacher served up an ace extended that lead one more point, 22-18, and then a pair of errors by Otterbein set up match point. Kristin Bender finished off the match to the tune of her team-high ninth kill of the night, 25-20.

Otterbein struggled offensively, putting together a team attack percentage of just .022 combined with 30 errors to its 33 kills.

Capital's defense came to play as McCracken led the team with 19 digs followed closely by Leonard's 17. Leonard is now nine digs away from achieving fourth on the Capital all-time list for career digs.

The Crusaders posted six total blocks, five of those of the solo variety. Bender had 2.5 of those blocks, two of them solo.

Capital, seeded sixth in the bracket, now advances to the semi-final round of the 2014 OAC Volleyball Tournament and is set to play No. 2 John Carroll (22-6) on Thursday evening at the DeCarlo Varisty Center (University Heights, Ohio). First service is set for 7 p.m.

The win marks Capital's first postseason victory since 2007 when they defeated Baldwin Wallace, 3-2.