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Big Red storm back to defeat Pioneers in home opener

(L-R) Alex Tubbs, Isabella Pivec  |  Photos by Jace Delgado
(L-R) Alex Tubbs, Isabella Pivec | Photos by Jace Delgado

GRANVILLE, Ohio – Denison volleyball won three consecutive sets on Tuesday evening to defeat the Marietta Pioneers, 3-1 (22-25, 25-18, 25-17, 27-25), in their 2018 home opener at Livingston Gymnasium in Granville.

Despite dropping the first set 25-22, the Big Red worked quickly in the second set, taking an early 13-9 lead thanks to four combined kills from junior Alex Tubbs and freshman Payton McElfresh. After Marietta tallied three straight points to cut their deficit to 13-12, the Big Red capitalized on 12 of the next 18 points behind service aces from McElfresh and Julia Miller. The victory evened the score at 1-1.

Denison's momentum continued in the third frame, jumping out to a 13-7 advantage following back-to-back service aces from Kaila Kasper. Three straight points from sophomore Emma Woerner and kills from Tubbs and senior Isabella Pivec was enough to take the third set, 25-17, and the lead entering the final set.

Taking a 23-19 DU lead late into the fourth set, the Pioneers responded with five consecutive scores, led by kills from Grace Haas and Amanda Arrowood to go out in front, 24-23. Thanks to Tubbs earning a kill and an attacking error from MC's Brooke Trimble, the match was tied at 25-25.

After the Pioneers issued a substitution to bring in Ellie Gerber, Pivec stepped up and collected back-to-back kills giving the Big Red their third win of the season and improving to 2-0 in home openers during the Carter Cassell era.

Woerner led all players with 14 kills, while also tallying 11 digs. Pivec finished with 11 kills and six total blocks, and Miller recorded a match-high 38 assists. The Big Red were also paced by freshman Marija Pavlick's 17 digs.

Marietta's April Davis led the match with 21 digs, while Hunter Barnes tallied a team-high 10 kills.

Denison will hit the road on Saturday, September 15 as they take part in the Ginny Hunt Kilt Classic hosted by the College of Wooster. The Big Red lead off with Franciscan at 11 a.m. before taking on Bethany (W.Va.) at 3 p.m.