Energized Crusaders Unable to Stop No. 17 Ohio Northern

Pictured: Leighann Osborne (photo credit: Joe Maiorana, Impact Action Sports Photography)
Pictured: Leighann Osborne (photo credit: Joe Maiorana, Impact Action Sports Photography)

By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Capital University volleyball team brought great energy to The Capital Center Performance Arena, which fueled a highly-competitive match between the Crusaders and nationally-ranked Ohio Northern University on Friday night. Cap played through ONU's size, but the Polar Bear attack was too strong in its 3-0 (25-22, 25-16, 25-22) win over the Crusaders.

Capital (9-13, 1-2 OAC) came out swinging and kept pace with the Polar Bears (17-5, 2-1 OAC) throughout the entire first set. Momentum shifted twice, both times after each team called a timeout to slow play down. Capital came back from being two points down and with a strong hit from senior Kasey Parkhurst (Castalia, Ohio/Margarita) and a strategically-placed attack from freshman Isabel Jimenez (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Davidson), took a 20-19 lead. After ONU stole the lead back, Cap tied the match twice. However, after Morgan Tripp's well-placed kill tied the set at 22, the Polar Bears' Chelsea Huppert put them ahead and then benefited from an error and an ace to clinch the first frame.

The Purple and White came out less sharp in the second set, allowing Ohio Northern to roll to a nine-point victory behind a single-set match-best .263 hit percentage. Cap did turn it around for the third set, hitting its best behind a .196 attack percentage. While Capital did not possess a lead after losing its early 10-9 advantage, the Crusaders were forced to battle back from as much as a four-point deficit. They did so with two kills from Parkhurst and three in a row from freshman Leighann Osborne (Canal Winchester, Ohio/Pickerington Central). Down 22-21, the Polar Bears called on Chelsea Huppert to attack the middle and she did so successfully to clinch the match in straight sets.

Osborne led Capital offensively with 11 kills and a posted .242 hit percentage. This marks the second time in four games she has tallied 11 kills in a match and fifth match with 10 or more kills.

While Kasey Parkhurst tallied eight kills and hit a team-best .269, she was all over the floor on the defensive end, as well. She led the squad with 21 digs and four block assists to help keep the Polar Bear offense in check. Parkhurst now has three matches with 20 or more digs. Her four blocks is a new season-high.

Jimenez had her best overall game and did so after having not played in the last nine matches. Jimenez recorded the first double-double of her career with 12 assists and 12 digs.

Huppert led all players with 17 kills in the middle and hit .519 on the night. A total of three players had 10 or more kills for the Polar Bears, and just as many with 11 or more digs.

Capital has a quick turnaround with its next match to be played on Saturday, Oct. 7 when the Crusaders welcome Chatham University to The Capital Center for a 1 p.m. start.