VB: First-set rally leads to sweep of MTU

(Doug Sampson / File Photo)
(Doug Sampson / File Photo)

TIFFIN -- In desperate need of a quality win, the Heidelberg University volleyball team swept visiting Mount Union on Saturday -- 27-25, 25-15, 25-16.  The win bolstered Heidelberg's hopes of hosting an Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament game, with two conference matches left on the docket.

The Student Princes (18-8, 4-3 OAC) had a great day at the net, finishing with 11 total blocks.  Laura Schrag tallied eight assisted blocks while Margan Strenk added five.

The offensive attack was spread throughout the Heidelberg rotation, with Amy Feczer notching a game-high 11 kills.  Strenk added nine, Taylor Valentine had eight and Alyssa Crusey had seven kills on the afternoon. Anna McNabb registered 35 assists.  

Defensively, Taylor Arbogast acrobatically amassed 18 digs.  McNabb picked up nine digs and Peyton Miller had eight while Strenk and Sydney Moore both had six.  

The opening set was tied at 11 before Mount Union (21-4, 4-3 OAC) struck for three straight, prompting a timeout by Jason Miller.  Inspired, the Student Princes reeled off four of their own -- two Feczer kills, a Strenk kill and an ace by Crusey. The guests battled back and eventually enjoyed a 21-17 lead.  A Schrag kill ignited a 3-0 run that forced a Mount timeout. Later, Marlee Peck added a kill that put MTU on the brink of taking the set at 24-22. Undaunted, The Berg rebounded to tie the match.  After falling behind 25-24, Crusey seized momentum with a kill and an ace before Valentine capped the set with a kill.

After resurrecting their hopes with a late surge in the first, Heidelberg separated itself from Mount in the second with a big mid-set run.  Knotted at 8, the Tricolor embarked on a 12-3 run capped by an Arbogast ace. Down 20-11, Mount Union crept closer with a three-point run. However, a kill by Strenk started a 5-1 run to win the set -- bolstered by the powerful serves of Maddie Szawranskyj.  

In the third set, the hosts plowed ahead early … then kept plowing.  With the score tied at 3, Arbogast served up a 7-0 run. After a bit of back-and-forth, Szawranskyj subbed in and stepped to the service line with her team ahead 12-7.  Through a mix of MTU attack errors and Strenk/Schrag blocks, HU built up a commanding 19-7 lead. Though the Purple Raiders managed to run off a six-point run, the 'Berg lead was too much to overcome.  Heidelberg had two cracks at match point before McNabb and Katie Keegan ended the match with a block.

For the match, Heidelberg hit .261 and held Mount Union to .115.  The visitors were led by nine-kill efforts from Madelin DiBease and Maria Ellesin.  

Through play on Saturday, Heidelberg and Mount Union are tied for fifth in the top-heavy OAC.  With eight teams advancing to the tournament, home games go to the top four seeds. Wins in its final two OAC matches -- vs. John Carroll and at Muskingum -- would appear to solidify a home match for Heidelberg in the tournament.  

Heidelberg closes out the home slate with clash against John Carroll on Tuesday.  Prior to the 7 p.m. start, the Student Princes will honor its seniors -- Taylor Arbogast, Katie Keegan, Sydney Moore, Laura Schrag, and Morgan Strenk.