By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director
BEREA, Ohio – Senior Graysan Braun led the Capital volleyball team on the offensive end in both of the team's matches on Friday night, but the Purple and White were unable to overcome a pair of feline opponents in the Panthers of Hanover College (Ind.) and the Lions of Mount St. Joseph University. Capital, now 7-8 overall, will return to Ursprung Gymnasium at Baldwin Wallace University for the second day of the HCAC/OAC Crossover Tournament on Sunday morning.
MATCH 1 – Hanover (Ind.) defeats Capital, 3-0 (25-20, 25-15, 25-12)
Hanover's strong play at the net translated into high hitting percentages in a straight set victory over Capital to help open the HCAC/OAC Crossover Tournament. Hanover did not commit more than three errors in any set versus Cap. Conversely, Cap struggled to get its offense going against a defense that registered a total of 10 blocks.
The Panthers were led by Margo Main, who shared the team lead with five block assists and added 10 kills on the offensive end. Main and her teammate Courtney Crawford were key in Hanover's net play that limited Capital to a team .089 hit percentage, combining for 10 block assists and one solo stop.
Senior Graysan Braun (Springfield, Ohio/Northwestern) led Cap with seven kills on 17 attempts (.235) and added a solo block. No player recorded more than six digs. Freshman Morgan Tripp (Jupiter, Fla./Jupiter Community) had 16 assists and four digs from the setter position.
Hanover hit .438 as a team over the course of the match and topped out at .571 in the third set after converting 14-of-21 attempts with just two errors.
MATCH 2 – Mount St. Joseph defeats Capital, 3-2 (25-17, 22-25, 27-25, 23-25, 15-9)
Capital gave it a good fight, but was unable to complete its comeback against Mount St. Joseph University. The Crusaders fell in five sets to the Lions despite an impressive battle to force a fifth set.
Mount St. Joseph fought fire with fire by outhitting Capital in its hit percentage and creating a few more offensive opportunities. While the Crusaders hit a respectable .241 in the opening frame, the Lions combated that by hitting .343 with just two errors among its 35 attempts.
Capital knotted it up at 1-1 by taking the second set, 25-22. The Purple and White jumped out to a 10-3 advantage with contributions from four different players on the offensive end plus a service ace by Tripp. The early lead would prove necessary after the Lions roared back to challenge the Crusaders late, but Cap held on for the win with the clinching point stemming from a block by the combo of Carlie Wilson and Leighann Osborne.
Cap nearly took the third set, as well, but the Lions were able to break set point three times to fuel their own come-from-behind effort and score the last three points in a row to take a 2-1 edge in the match. The Crusaders returned the favor when down by four points, 20-16, Osborne led a rally to retake the lead with aid from two kills by freshman Bryanna Masters (Canal Winchester, Ohio/Canal Winchester). The set was decided at the service line when Mount St. Joseph committed an error and junior Alexa Jeffers ended it with an ace to force a fifth set.
Mount St Joseph wasted no time to put the pressure on Cap in the final frame. Tied 3-3, the Lions scored four consecutive points and nine of the next 10 to create some space and ride the run to a victory.
The match's top two attackers resided on the Cap sideline when Braun (18) and fellow senior Kasey Parkhurst (14) paced the CU offense. Braun finished the match hitting .324 and Parkhurst at a .216 clip. Parkhurst also registered her seventh double-double of the season by adding 20 digs. Braun's 18 kills also set a new career high.
Freshman Alexis Kruse (Defiance, Ohio/Tinora) earned the nod as the team's libero and recorded a career best 29 digs. Tripp split time with Jeffers, but dished out 28 assists to lead the team. Jeffers was close behind with 23. Combined, the duo accounted for five of the team's seven aces.
Three Mount St. Joseph players recorded 10 or more kills, led by Riley Brunner's 14. She also led the Lions with 22 digs and recorded four of the team's 15 service aces.
Capital (7-8) will return to the courts at Baldwin Wallace University on Saturday morning to play two more games as part of the HCAC/OAC Crossover Tournament. They open action at 10 a.m. against Bluffton University and then conclude their stay at Defiance College later in the afternoon.