GAMBIER, Ohio – Capital Volleyball challenged the Ladies of Kenyon College in each set played on Thursday night. However, the hosts were not gracious enough to let the Crusaders through the door and took a 3-1 match victory in their season opener inside the Kenyon Athletic Center.
Senior Courtney McCracken (Newark, Ohio/Newark Catholic) finished with a team-high 11 kills on 26 attempts and hit .308 on the evening. She also led the team in service aces (4) and shared the team lead in digs (8) with freshman Jaelin Rios (Champlin, Minn.).
Out of the gate, Capital had an early four-point advantage over the Ladies. While the two sides battled back and forth to an 18-18 score, Kenyon soon after went on a 7-2 run to close out the first set, 25-20. The second set also got away from the Crusaders after taking it to 19-19 tie. Freshman Kirsten Jutte (Fort Recovery, Ohio) was called for three ball handling errors in a stretch that helped the Ladies pull out a 25-21 win and take a 2-0 lead.
Kenyon stormed out to an early lead in the third set, but the resilient Crusaders returned the favor with a 6-3 turnaround to tie it up, 12-12. With the help of a small rally fueled by Kirsten Nickles to extend the lead to three, Capital put the pressure on the hosts and eventually stole the third set, 25-23. Becca Kapavik shut the door on the set with one of her eight kills on the night.
Capital was unable to keep the momentum going as Kenyon held a lead for the entire fourth set. The Crusaders fought to an 18-18 stalemate late, but a service error and two kills by Kenyon standout Delaney Swason prevented the comeback and closed out the match on a 25-21 note.
In her collegiate debut, Jutte finished with 31 assists and six digs. Also making their first appearances for the Purple and White were freshmen Jaelin Rios, Emily Stephens and Kristen Mellott. Mellott ended the evening with four kills on eight attempts with just one error.
Capital did well at the net, outblocking Kenyon 8-6. Kristen Bender (Fremont, Ohio) and Kapavik each had three block assists to lead the team.
Cap will have a quick turnaround and open their doors for the first time as cohosts of the Capital/Otterbein Tournament. Capital will play twice on Friday, Sept. 2, once against Earlham College and once against Case Western Reserve. First service against the Quakers is set for 5 p.m.