WESTERVILLE, Ohio – Capital University Volleyball opened the 2015 season at the Otterbein Tournament at the Rike Center in Westerville, Ohio. In a pair of hard-fought, five-set matches, the Crusaders earned a win over Berea College to help give head coach Leah Farrell the first win of her collegiate coaching career.
MATCH 1 – L, 3-2 vs. Kenyon College
In the first of two matches on Friday, Capital played the Ladies of Kenyon College. This marked the second straight year the Crusaders and Ladies opened their respective seasons as opponents. Last year, Capital took the match in four sets, but this year the matchup belonged to Kenyon.
The Ladies jumped out to an early lead by taking the first set, 25-11. After hitting 18.5 percent in the opening frame, Capital came back and hit 34.4 percent as a team en route to edging the Ladies in the second set, 29-27. The third set belonged to Kenyon, 25-15, but once again the Crusaders battled back to force a fifth frame. Despite another strong performance on the attack, the Crusaders dropped the fifth stanza by a 15-13 count, thus giving Kenyon the win.
Kirsten Nickles (Loudonville, Ohio) and Kristin Bender (Fremont, Ohio) had 10 kills each to lead Capital's offense. Becca Kapavik (Johnstown, Ohio) held the highest success rate, registering eight kills on 18 attempts to rack up a .389 hit percentage. Kapavik and Bender also led Capital in blocks, as both recorded one solo and three block assists.
Senior Katie Weilbacher (Grove City, Ohio/Bishop Ready) spread the ball around with a team-high 24 assists. McDivitt also had 20-plus assists in the match.
MATCH 2 – W, 3-2 vs. Berea College
Capital's second five-setter ended in a happier fashion. The Crusaders landed one the winning end of a 3-2 decision against Berea College (25-16, 20-25, 25-18, 22-25, 15-8).
Tied at two sets each, Capital rolled in the fifth set with a strong attack that landed them a .375 hit percentage.
Courtney McCracken (Newark, Ohio) turned her game around in Capital's second match, putting down 12 kills to lead the Crusaders' offense.
Winstel did her part of the defensive end, scooping up 22 digs and adding three services aces on the offensive side.
McDivitt again hit 20 assists on the dot in the win, also laying claim to five digs and two service aces.
Freshman Alexa Jeffers (Reynoldsburg, Ohio/Reynoldsburg) recorded 12 assists in her first collegiate action. Fellow freshman Jess Troutwine (Springfield, Ohio) put up three kills, two service aces, two digs, and two solo blocks in her debut.
The win was not just the first of the season for Capital, but also the inaugural win for first-year head coach Leah Farrell.
Capital will play two more matches at the Rike Center on Saturday. The Crusaders will play Case Western Reserve University at 12:30 p.m. and then take on host Otterbein University at 3 p.m. Live stats will be provided for the match versus the Cardinals.