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Denison takes down Bluffton for sixth-straight win

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

GRANVILLE, Ohio – Highlighted by a team-best 16 kills and three blocks from freshman Lucy Anderson, Denison volleyball moved their winning streak to six games as they defeated Bluffton University 3-1 (29-27, 25-21, 23-25, 25-23) on Tuesday evening at Livingston Gymnasium. DU's six straight victories matches the programs longest winning streak since 2013.

Landing 10 or more kills in each of the four sets played, the Big Red opened with an early 8-4 advantage in the first set thanks to kills from Anderson and Emma Woerner and a service ace from Sidney Gossard. Denison carried a 17-13 lead following a service error for the Beavers, but Bluffton followed with 10 of the next 13 points to go in front, 23-20.

Over the next eight points, kills from Woerner, Payton McElfresh, and Catherine Anderson tied the frame at 25-25 before the Big Red rallied for the final three points to take the first set, 29-27.

Denison kept their momentum alive in the second set when they took a 7-4 lead on kills from Lucy Anderson, Catherine Anderson, and McElfresh. Bluffton continued to chip away at their deficit as four kills from Remi Bower helped the Beavers tally 12 of the next 19 points to grab a 16-14 lead.

Trailing 19-18, Denison turned in four-straight points from Lucy Anderson, Catherine Anderson, and McElfresh to retake the lead, 22-19, and following a Bluffton attacking error on the final play, the Big Red increased their lead to 2-0 entering the third set.

After falling to BU in the third frame 25-23, Denison fell into an early 8-4 deficit on points from Bower and Carley Lester. The Big Red followed with seven-straight points on three service aces from Lucy Anderson as DU regained the lead, 11-8.

Leading 24-23 at the end of the set, Lucy Anderson landed a kill and ended the match for DU. The win moved Denison to 9-5 on the year, which is the best start for the Big Red over the last three seasons under head coach Carter Cassell.

Finishing with four players who tallied 10 or more kills on the night, Lucy Anderson led the team with 16 kills, three blocks, and four service aces. Woerner posted 12 kills, two service aces, and 10 digs, while Catherine Anderson and McElfresh each chipped in 10 kills. McElfresh and Jenna Corrao tied for the team-lead with 16 digs and Sophie Tight paced DU with 43 assists.

Bower finished with a match-high 23 kills for Bluffton while Sarah Heydinger added 13. Noel Ufferman posted 38 assists and Brooke Kleman tallied 20 digs.

Denison will return to the court on Saturday, Sept. 28 when they host NCAC-rival Kenyon College at 1 p.m. to kick off Big Red Weekend in Granville.