|Senior Anna Medema looks for a kill during Friday's NCAC Tournament opening round match against Kenyon. Photo courtesy of Levi Rex, NCAC.|
SPRINGFIELD, Ohio – Kenyon College twice rallied from a set down and then won the fifth set, as The College of Wooster volleyball team's season came to a close with a 20-25, 25-22, 18-25, 25-7, 15-8 loss in the first round of the North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament on Friday afternoon.
Wooster (12-16) overcame an early 9-3 deficit in the first set. Twelve consecutive points by the Scots enabled Wooster to claim a five-point lead at 14-9. Sophomore Katie Billetdeaux took charge after a host of Kenyon (8-18) errors with a kill and solo block, with the latter serving as the run's exclamation point. Back-to-back kills by junior Meghan Botsch upped the lead to six at 23-17, with first-year Sydney Fitzcharles' ace and Billetdeaux's third kill of the match closing out the set.
The Scots nearly climbed out of an eight-point hole in the second set, but Mackenzie Bruzzio's sixth kill of the frame kept Wooster at bay. Billetdeaux was at the forefront of Wooster's comeback bid with three straight kills that pulled the Scots within 17-12. Later, first-year Hayley Nash, who was named to the All-NCAC first-team at the conclusion of the opening round matches, connected on back-to-back kills that closed the gap to 21-18. Wooster was within one after senior Cami Miller's kill, and first-year Emily Gail and senior Anna Medema stuffed Bruzzio on match point, before the Ladies' standout senior tied the match at one all.
Wooster turned in an early 6-0 run in the third set, which bumped the Scots' lead to 9-4. Nash book-ended that stretch with kills, and later, Fitzcharles extended the lead to 13-7 with consecutive aces. Gail and Nash did the heavy lifting in the scoring column with 10 of Wooster's 13 kills, while Fitzcharles logged seven aces in the set.
Kenyon's strong serving game was one of the key factors in the fourth set, as the Ladies fired off six aces to combine with a .450 attack percentage for the set.
Medema's kill pulled Wooster within 8-6 in the fifth set, but that's as close as the Scots came down the stretch. Earlier in the frame, Gail tallied back-to-back kills which cut Kenyon's lead to two at 4-2, and Billetdeaux's kill made it 7-5.
Fitzcharles capped her rookie season with a match-high 32 digs, the most by a Scot since alumna Gabrielle Basinski's career-high 35 at Allegheny College on October 10, 2018. Nash's 13 kills was the co-match-high. Medema and sophomore Seven Townsel had 12 digs apiece.
Bruzzio's 13 kills were the most for the Ladies, while Katei Howard logged 23 digs.