GRANVILLE, Ohio – Sporting their best record since 2013 while winning 14 of their last 16 matches, Denison volleyball continues their breakout campaign in 2019 as they enter the North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament as the No. 2 seed after finishing their conference schedule at 6-2.
Earning a double-bye through the first two rounds of action, the Big Red will await the winner of No. 3 Ohio Wesleyan and No. 6 Wooster/No. 7 Kenyon in the tournament semifinals on Saturday (Nov. 9) at 11 a.m. Denison is 2-1 against their potential opponents this season, including a 3-0 sweep of Kenyon on Sept. 28 and a thrilling five-set win at Ohio Wesleyan on Oct. 8. Wooster handed Denison their first loss in conference play on Oct. 12 (3-1).
Highlighted by kill rates of .250 or higher in four of their last five matches, the Big Red has secured 14 shutouts so far this season and even turned in a 10-match winning streak (Sept. 14-Oct. 8) which is the program's longest since 1993. On offense, Denison has found consistency behind freshman Lucy Anderson and junior Emma Woerner. Anderson currently leads DU with 226 kills and 80 total blocks while posting a hit rate of .286, good for second on the team. Leading the conference with 1.05 blocks per set, Anderson has collected 10 or more kills in nine matches this season and was named the NCAC Player of the Week on Sept. 23.
Woerner, who has tallied at least 200 kills during each of her first three seasons in Granville, has experienced her most efficient season yet with a career-best hit percentage of .218 while turning in the lowest error total (73) of her career. She has also recorded a team-high 52 services aces in 2019 which is tied for the second-most in program history with Dana Twomey (2004). She is four away from breaking Regann Goodwin's single-season record of 55 (2000).
Sidney Gossard and Payton McElfresh have assisted on the offensive end for Denison with a combined 293 kills and 31 service aces apiece while Sophie Tight has paced the Big Red with a conference-best 9.45 assists per set.
Alex Tubbs has also displayed her experience and leadership with the fourth-highest hit percentage in the league (.314) and has added 36 blocks during her senior campaign. Helping on the defensive end, first-year Jenna Corrao has posted a team-leading 354 digs while her 5.06 digs per set rank top-three in the conference. McElfresh (217), Tight (215), and Woerner (201) have also posted 200 or more digs this season for DU.
Tournament host and top-seed Wittenberg will await the other side of the bracket as they will play the winner of No. 4 DePauw and No. 5 Hiram/No. 8 Oberlin on Saturday at 11 a.m. The winners of each semifinal match will meet in the tournament championship at 5 p.m.
Tickets for this weekend's NCAC Tournament can be purchased at the arena for $7 for adults and $3 for children (18 years of age and under). NCAC students will receive admission at no cost with proof of a student ID. Each ticket will garner you access to all matches occurring on that specific day.