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Big Red takes down Capital to end regular season

Emma Woerner  |  Photo by Brett Dunbar
Emma Woerner | Photo by Brett Dunbar

BEXLEY, Ohio – Winners in four of their last six matches and highlighted by a pair of 13 kill efforts from Emma Woerner and Payton McElfresh, Denison volleyball rounded out their regular season on Saturday afternoon with a 3-0 (25-12, 25-17, 25-18) win over Capital University in Bexley, Ohio.

Finishing with an overall hit percentage of .273, including a .391 kill rate on two errors in the first set, the Big Red took control from the beginning when they secured nine of the first 11 points of the match on three service aces from McElfresh and multiple kills from Woerner and Alex Tubbs.

Leading 15-9 later in the set, Denison tallied 10 of the final 13 points on a combined five kills from Woerner, McElfresh, Tubbs, and senior Mary Massarelli to enter the first break with a 1-0 advantage.

In the second set, back-to-back service aces from Isabella Pivec and a kill from Olivia Burnside put DU up 11-4, but the Crusaders followed with five-straight points on kills from Olivia Hale, Kirsten Jutte, and Jessica Gavlak to cut the Capital deficit to 11-9.

After multiple kills from Pivec allowed Denison to open the lead back to 20-17, three attacking errors from Capital and a strike by Dora Vrettos gave DU the final five points of the set and a 2-0 advantage entering the final frame.

Despite falling behind to the Crusaders 7-4 in the third set, Woerner tallied three of the next six points as the Big Red rallied to take the lead, 13-8. After Capital trimmed Denison's lead to 22-18 on consecutive kills from Leighanne Osborne, McElfresh answered with back-to-back strikes to help DU sweep the match and earn their 11th win of the season.

Tied for the match lead with 13 kills each, Woerner and McElfresh also combined for a .394 kill percentage and 20 digs for the contest. Marija Pavlick led the day with 13 digs, and Julia Miller paced Denison with 33 assists. Hale led Capital with six kills, while Alexa Jeffers added 12 assists and six digs.

Following the conclusion of the regular season, the Big Red will now prepare for the 2018 NCAC Tournament held at Wittenberg University next Friday through Saturday, Nov. 2-3. Denison's bracket opens on Friday at 3 p.m. when they match up with No. 7 Wooster in the first round.