The College of Wooster volleyball team avenged last week's loss at Denison University with a 25-19, 25-19, 20-25, 25-19 win over the Big Red to open the 2018 North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament before bowing out to third-seeded Hiram College 25-13, 25-23, 25-17 in a second-round match on Friday evening at Wittenberg University's Pam Evans Smith Arena.
Wooster (15-12), which was swept by Denison (11-15) last week Wednesday, rallied behind the senior trio of Mayia Karagianni, Eleri Miller, and McKenzie Reese, who accounted for 10 of the Scots' 14 first-set kills. An 8-2 run midway through the set proved to be one of the key sequences of the match. Senior Jordan Murray served up two aces near the end of the run, and logged four of her match-high seven in the opening frame.
Miller's hot start carried over, as the senior smashed down five kills on nine swings in the second set, while the Scots again logged 14 kills overall.
A late push in the fourth set propelled Wooster to victory. After Denison pulled within one at 19-18, senior Ashley Plassard's kill sparked a 5-0 run that made it 23-18. Senior Marija Cyvas capped the match with her eighth kill of the afternoon.
Miller led the charge with a career-high 14 kills, while overall, five Scots – all seniors – had at least six kills in the match.
Senior Gabrielle Basinski tallied a match-high 28 digs, while Murray added 17.
Denison's Emma Woerner turned in the match's lone double-double with 13 kills and 10 digs.
Worth noting, Wooster's win over Denison marked the Scots' first time winning their opening match of the NCAC Tournament since 2012. That year, Wooster also topped Denison 3-1.
In the nightcap, Botsch's kill upped Wooster's lead to five at 16-11 in the second set, and that marked the capper of a 6-1 run. Wooster led as late as 19-18, and the Scots nearly rallied back after Hiram (22-4) pulled ahead. Back-to-back kills by Karagianni and Plassard enabled Wooster to ward off a pair of set points, but Hiram's Lindsey Walker quickly logged a kill to up the Terriers' lead to 2-0 in the sets won column. Both teams upped the efforts defensively in the second set with a combined 74 digs, 10 of which were turned in by Basinski
Basinski's strong play carried over to the third set, and for the second frame in a row, the Scots' four-year starting libero dug 10 Hiram attack attempts.
Plassard and Reese tallied a co-team-high six kills in their final collegiate matches, while Basinki and Murray combined for 37 of Wooster's 67 digs.
Walker led all players with 12 kills, while Hiram's Kayla Cole backed that up with 11. Lindsey Stahl paced the Terriers with 21 digs.
Noteworthy, Basinski finished her career fourth all-time at the College with 1,828 digs, while Plassard's 232 blocks are the 10th-most in program history.