MARIETTA, Ohio – Denison volleyball improved to 15-6 overall on Thursday evening following 3-0 sweep (25-17, 25-20, 25-20) of Marietta College at Ban Johnson Arena in Marietta, Ohio.
Highlighted by a .283 hit percentage and a season-high 17 service aces, the Big Red took control in the first set when they used an impressive .375 kill rate to garner 13 kills and five service aces while committing only one error.
After multiple aces from Jenna Corrao and a kill from Lucy Anderson gave DU an early 6-2 lead, the Pioneers battled back with four of the next five points to trim their deficit to 7-6. Leading Marietta 14-12, Denison used back-to-back finishes from Payton McElfresh and Sidney Gossard to fuel a four-point burst and ended the frame on a 10-5 scoring run. The Big Red entered the second set with a 1-0 advantage.
Denison stayed on the attack in the second set with 17 kills on 39 attempts for a hit percentage of .333. Despite falling to an early 4-2 deficit, the Big Red rebounded with five-straight points on consecutive service aces from McElfresh and a successful strike from Emma Woerner. Leading by as many as eight points in the frame, a trio of kills from McElfresh and Alex Tubbs helped secure the 25-20 set victory while giving DU a 2-0 lead.
In the final frame, both sides posted matching kill rates of .143 with the Pioneers opening the set with a 9-4 lead. On the next point, Carly Tenaglia finished a pass from Sophie Tight to trim the MC lead to four, and McElfresh followed with three of Denison's eight services aces in the set to bring the Big Red within one, 9-8.
A kill from Maris Kaiser built Marietta's lead back to four, 14-10, but eight of the next nine points belonged to DU on a pair of service aces from Corrao and Woerner and back-to-back kills from Gossard. Holding an 18-17 advantage, the Big Red ended the match on a 7-3 scoring run behind three aces and three kills, including a service ace from McElfresh to seal the victory.
Woerner and McElfresh tied for the team lead with nine kills each while McElfresh finished with a match-best six service aces. Woerner followed with three aces, tied for second on the team with Corrao. Anderson posted a match-high .444 hit percentage with eight kills on 18 attempts. She also added five blocks and two aces. Corrao led the night with 19 digs and Gossard and Tubbs combined for 11 finishes. Tight paced the Big Red with 31 assists.
Marietta's Hailey Fuller and Sam Ritenour tied for a match-best 11 kills each. Maddie Nader added 27 assists and April Davis led the Pioneers with 16 digs.
The Big Red will return to Livingston Gymnasium next Wednesday, Oct. 23 when they host Oberlin College for an NCAC matchup beginning at 7 p.m.