Crusaders Battle but Fall on Wrong End of Final Momentum Shift

Leighann Osborne led the Crusaders with 15 kills, though the Crusaders were unable to pull out the win against the Chatham Cougars. (photo credit: Joe Maiorana, Impact Action Sports Photography)
Leighann Osborne led the Crusaders with 15 kills, though the Crusaders were unable to pull out the win against the Chatham Cougars. (photo credit: Joe Maiorana, Impact Action Sports Photography)

By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Capital University Volleyball overcame a sluggish start in Saturday afternoon's match with Chatham University (Pa.), and was one set away from getting its 10th win of the season. However, in a match full of momentum swings and close play at the net the Cougars came back to defeat the Crusaders in five.

Pregame warmups were no indicator as to how the first set of Saturday's match played out. While Capital looked sharp before starting lineups were delivered, they fell behind 11-2 after they committed five unforced errors, one bad set and one reception error. Despite this near double-digit deficit, Capital roared back to close the gap to two points by the end of the set. Even despite losing the first set, 25-23, the Crusaders made a statement that they were not going away, and they did not.

Cap hit just .073 and committed eight errors in the first set, but in each of the next two Capital dominated on the offensive end. They combined to hit into just five errors over the next two sets and hit .298 and .462, respectively, in the third and fourth.

Leading that charge was freshman Leighann Osborne (Canal Winchester, Ohio/Pickerington Central), who posted nine of her team-high 15 kills between the second and third sets. Six of those came in the second, where she went 6-for-13 and committed zero errors. Freshman Jessica Gavlack (Sheffield Village, Lutheran West) also had a strong run in the middle sets, combining for six of her 11 kills and getting in on three blocks with teammate Bryanna Masters (Ashland, Ohio/Ashland).

In the fourth, Capital found itself leading comfortably by seven points, 19-12, but a block by Chatham's Maggie Fleiner and Mckenzie Bonnett began a six-point run that brought them right back into it. It was one of three blocks that occurred during that run. Out of a Capital timeout, the Crusaders still possessed a 22-20 lead, but errors severely hurt the hosts and prevented them from closing the door on the Cougars. Cap committed four attack errors, and then Katelyn Gonos tallied point number 25 to force the fifth set.

Set five was truly a competitive bout in a race to 15. Tied 12-12, the Cougars took and gave back to the lead with a kill and bad set. Now knotted at 13, Osborne committed an attack error and then Bonnett completed Chatham's comeback with one final kill to claim the fifth set, 15-13.

Capital is now 1-4 in matches that go five sets, and has its overall record fall to 9-14.

Five different Capital players tallied 10 or more kills over the course of the match, paced by Osborne's 15. Joining her was Masters (11), Jutte (11), Gavlack (11), and Parkhurst (10). Parkhurst made good on her ninth double-double of the year with 15 digs to accompany her offensive effort.

Morgan Tripp (Jupiter, Fla./Jupiter Community) was all over the court and set a new career high with 33 assists. She also posted her fifth double-double of the season, adding 11 digs to her line.

On the other side of the net, Chatham's Justyne Lasher led all players with 17 kills and was second on the team with 16 digs. Mckenzie Bennett recorded 15 kills plus four block assists.

Capital's next contest will be on the road against Muskingum University (14-3, 2-1 OAC) on Tuesday, Oct. 10. They will return home for a match against the University of Mount Union on Saturday, October 14.