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Bishops trip up Big Red in straight sets

Kathryn Boyd  |  Photo by Brett Dunbar
Kathryn Boyd | Photo by Brett Dunbar

GRANVILLE, Ohio – Denison volleyball suffered their third conference loss of the season on Tuesday evening, falling to the Battling Bishops of Ohio Wesleyan, 3-0 (25-16, 25-19, 25-21), at Livingston Gymnasium in Granville.

During the opening set, freshman Payton McElfresh connected on multiple kills to put the Big Red up early on the Bishops, 4-3. Despite the early kills, Ohio Wesleyan used their .200 hit percentage during the first set to take 15 of the next 19 points on five combined kills from Paige Hale and Erin Bitzer as they went on to take the early set victory, 1-0.

The Bishops carried momentum into the second set, but kills from Olivia Burnside and Faith Harris, along with multiple attacking errors from OWU, kept DU's deficit within three, 13-10.

Hale sparked a six-point swing for Ohio Wesleyan, but big kills from Kathryn Boyd and junior Alex Tubbs continued to show fight for Denison as they trailed by five, 19-14. Trailing 23-19 at the end of the set, the Big Red suffered an attacking error to put OWU at match point, and the Bishops followed with a kill from Bitzer to increase their sets advantage to 2-0.

Despite a two-set deficit, the Big Red came out firing in the third set, led by four total kills from Burnside and sophomore Kaila Kasper as Denison held an 8-6 advantage in the final frame. Ohio Wesleyan's Bitzer and Molly Jewett answered with back-to-back kills to put the Bishops back in front, 15-13.

Service errors from OWU and a kill from Isabella Pivec allowed DU to stay within one, 21-20, toward the end of the set. Pivec answered with her third kill of the night, but Ohio Wesleyan tallied the final two points of the match to improve to 2-1 in North Coast Athletic Conference play. Denison fell to 0-3 in the NCAC.

OWU's Hale and Jordan Brandt led the match with a combined 24 kills on 60 attempts. Denison's Katie Aucamp finished with seven kills to lead the team, while Julia Miller paced the Big Red with 28 assists, helping her eclipse 400 assists for the season. Marija Pavlick chipped in 15 digs, and Harris and Tubbs landed five kills each.

The Big Red will look to garner their first conference win on Saturday, October 6 when they travel to Gambier, Ohio for a 3 p.m. showdown with Kenyon College.