Crusaders Fall at John Carroll in OAC Semifinals

(Jeff Mills photo).
(Jeff Mills photo).

 

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio – The Capital University volleyball team was defeated 3-0 by John Carroll on Thursday evening in the semifinals of the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament at the Tony DeCarlo Varsity Center. John Carroll defeated Capital by scores of 25-23, 25-20, and 25-17.

Senior Kelly Leonard (Cincinnati, Ohio) provided a career highlight in the match, passing former Crusader volleyball great Hollie Miller (1995-97) for fourth all-time in career digs. Leonard passed Miller's mark of 1,579 career digs on Thursday night, totaling 23 digs to cap off her career with 1,585 total digs.

Capital caps off its 2014 campaign having advanced to the semifinals of the conference tournament for the first time since 2007. The Crusaders earned a spot in the semifinal round after defeating cross-town rival Otterbein on the road on Tuesday, 3-0.

In the first set, the Crusaders jumped out to a 4-1 lead before surrendering three unanswered points to the Blue Streaks, as they tied the set at four points apiece. Capital built its lead again to as many as three points five times, only to fall by two points in the initial set.

Set two featured a similar battle between the two teams, but John Carroll managed to put together a pair of three straight points taken, as well as one four point swing, taking a 2-0 match lead heading into the third and final set.

The Crusaders managed to fight the Blue Streaks tough down to the final set, leading 2-1 early on in set three. John Carroll then posted five consecutive points and never looked back, allowing Capital to come only as close as five over the final five points of play.

Leading the way for Capital was sophomore Courtney McCracken (Newark, Ohio), who registered a match-high 11 kills on a .286 hitting percentage on 28 total attacks. She also tallied 12 digs and a pair of service aces on the night.

Sophomore Kristen Bender (Fremont, Ohio) followed with eight kills and a pair of solo blocks, while classmate Hanna Ewart (Wichita, Kan.) added seven kills of her own and one block assist.

Fellow sophomore Mona Ratliff (South Charleston, Ohio) checked in with six kills, two solo blocks and one block assist. Six Capital players recorded at least two kills in the loss.

Junior Katie Weilbacher (Grove City, Ohio) led the Crusaders with 29 assists, while also tallying four digs, two kills and one service ace.

The match also capped off the careers of Capital seniors Cotton and Leonard, both of which helped the Crusaders earn 58 total wins, including 13 OAC victories, over the course of the past four seasons.