By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Capital University Volleyball put together one of its best performances of the season, and perhaps in recent memory. Despite a 3-2 loss on the scoreboard, the Purple and White took the nationally-recognized Purple Raiders of Mount Union to the brink in a five-set drama at The Capital Center Performance Arena.
A NOTE BEFORE WE BEGIN
Mount Union (19-6, 4-1 OAC) came into today's match having received votes in the most recent American Volleyball Coaches Association Top-25 poll. They are one of four Ohio Athletic Conference teams in the poll or receiving votes.
OFF TO THE RACES!
The Crusaders came to play and it was never more evident than when the Purple and White side of the court provided a rush of energy from its front line. After falling behind 4-1, senior Carlie Wilson (Richwood, Ohio/North Union) rallied the troops and contributed in back-to-back blocks that tied the match and stopped Mount Union from breaking away early.
Capital went on a 10-3 run with points coming from all over the place with kills from sophomore Delanie Nahikian, junior Leighann Osborne, and an ace from Miranda Jordan. The four-point cushion may have disappeared but it was only temporary after Capital used a late rally to storm off with a 25-20 first-set win.
MOUNT UNION RESPONDS
While Cap began hot, its hit percentages dropped while the Mount Union saw theirs maintain high marks. The Purple Raiders won the second and third sets by scores of 25-15 and 25-13. Mount Union hit .273 and .379 while Cap hit under .100 in each set.
NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND
Capital was not ready to call it a day despite falling behind, 2-1. The battle raged on through the fourth and neither team had more than a two-point lead at any point. Down 23-20, Capital called a timeout and found its magic with four straight points to retake the lead, 24-23. Nahikian was at the forefront of the comeback with two kills and a block assist in that run.
Out of a timeout, Mount Union tied the game at 24 but Capital benefitted from a Mount Union service error. Facing set point, senior Kirsten Jutte closed the door on the frame with a kill to claim the win and tie the match at two games each.
THE FINAL COUNTDOWN
Capital had only two previous matches go into five sets, and it may have showed. Cap trailed by just two early but went into the turn down four, 8-4. Mount Union then ran off with the match after a CU service error, outlasting Cap 15-7 in the final stanza.
- Sophomore Delanie Nahikian (Allegan, Mich./Allegan) demolished her previous career best for kills in a single match, tallying 21 kills against the Purple Raiders. She hit .319 and went 21-6-47 in the match, while also posting one solo block and four block assists.
- Leighann Osborne (Canal Winchester, Ohio/Pickerington North) had 11 kills in the loss plus two block assists.
- Jessica Gavlak led the Crusaders with five block assists and was one of three to have four or more.
- Isabel Jimenez (Hilliard, Ohio/Hilliard Davidson) did the distributing and did so well, posting a career-high 44 assists. She also tallied 19 digs.
- Mount Union's Breanna Arnett led all players with 22 kills (.306) on the afternoon. She was one of three Purple Raiders to tally 13 or more kills.
COMING UP NEXT
Capital (9-17, 0-5 OAC) continues its hunt for conference win number one this Tuesday at nationally-ranked Muskingum University on Tuesday, October 22. First service is set for 7 p.m. in New Concord, Ohio.