BEREA, Ohio – The Baldwin Wallace University volleyball team defeated No. 17-nationally ranked Ohio Northern University in a three-set Ohio Athletic Conference match in a live Ursprung Gymnasium inside the Lou Higgins Center.
BW (22-1, 2-0 OAC), who has now won 19 straight matches, defeated Ohio Northern (12-4, 2-1 OAC) by scores of 25-21, 26-24 and 25-17.
The victory marks the first time the Yellow Jackets have defeated the Polar Bears since October 15, 2011. BW won that match in five sets, edging out Ohio Northern, 3-2. The Yellow Jackets stung the Polar Bears again that season in the OAC Tournament Quarterfinals in a similar 3-2 finish. This defeat was just the the fourth loss that Ohio Northern has suffered in conference play over the past four seasons.
The first set was a back and forth affair between the two squads. The Polar Bears established a five point lead halfway through the set, but a five-point service run from BW freshman defensive specialist Morgan Martin (Seven Hills/Trinity) gave the Yellow Jackets back a one point lead. With that advantage, BW closed out the first set, 25-21, off a block from freshman outside hitter Ivy Earl (Howell).
Set two was neck and neck with both teams trading kills. A late game service run from sophomore setter Kathleen Egan (Cleveland/Beaumont) boasted the Yellow Jackets a two point lead. Ohio Northern fought back and tied the match at 24, but BW would not deterred as Egan assisted on the final two kills to close out the set at 26-24.
The third set was the most dominating for the Yellow Jackets, as they established their largest lead of the match of 10. BW held that lead and won the set off a service error by the Polar Bears, 25-17.
Freshman utility player Morgan Mellinger (Akron/St. Vincent St. Mary) was an offensive force leading the Yellow Jackets with 13 kills. Sophomore middle hitter Taylor Brown (Maple Heights) also reached double digits, tallying 10 kills. Facilitating the offense was senior setter Ashley Nuding (Perrysburg/Springfield) and Egan, who had 19 and 18 assists, respectively.
BW's defense was not letting any ball hit the floor as four different Yellow Jackets posted double digit digs. Leading the way at 19 digs was sophomore defensive specialist Sarah Reinhard (Willoughby/South). BW amassed 20 blocks for the night as senior Academic All-OAC and three-time All-OAC Alicia Lortcher (Norwalk) recorded five assisted blocks to lead BW.
Head Coach Scott Carter added after the game, "I thought it was a great victory tonight to set up the stage for what's coming in the OAC. We needed something like this to get our kids to buy in and believe in how talented they are. This solidified our identity tonight and we'll walk back into the gym knowing that we can compete with anybody in the country. "
BW will hit the court again when they travel to Otterbein University for another OAC match, on Saturday, October 6. Match is set to start at 1 p.m.