TIFFIN, Ohio—A share of first place in the Ohio Athletic Conference will be on the line Saturday night when the No. 6 Heidelberg University volleyball team hosts the University of Mount Union in a league match at Seiberling Gymnasium at 7 p.m. in Tiffin, Ohio. The match is designated as a ‘Berg Pride Event and fans will have the opportunity to purchase incentive-based ‘Berg Pride cards and t-shirts in support of Heidelberg athletics.
Live stats for Saturday’s match will be available at http://www.heidelberg.edu/statcrew/vb/xlive.htm.
The Berg, 22-2 overall and 5-0 in the OAC, is currently riding a 14-match winning streak dating back to Sept. 17 following a 3-1 (25-23, 23-25, 25-12, 25-23) win at Baldwin-Wallace College on Tuesday (Oct. 11). In that match, senior second-team All-OAC outside hitter outside hitter Venessa Haase (Miamisburg) notched her fourth double-double in the last five games with a team-high-tying 12 kills and 11 digs.
In addition, Heidelberg has won 16 consecutive matches against conference opponents dating back to last season and has won 42 of its last 45 sets during its 14-match winning streak.
The Berg is led offensively by junior second-team All-OAC outside hitter Marian Bevington (Celina/Parkway), who leads the team with 175 kills and a .361 hitting percentage, and senior reigning OAC player of the year Jackie Reinhart (New Riegel) with 174 kills and a hitting percentage of .259. Both Reinhart and Haase recently recorded their 1,000th-career kill.
Junior setter Rachel Ferguson (Brighton, Mich./Brighton) and sophomore setter Alexa Frank (Tiffin/Calvert) will direct the offense. The duo has combined to provide 688 of the team’s 882 assists, with Ferguson tallying 416 and Frank notching 272.
Freshman libero Tessa Benanzer (Fort Loramie) will handle the bulk of the defensive load. Benanzer has a team-best 301 digs and has accounted for nearly 25 percent of the team’s digs this season. Reinhart has collected 278 saves of her own, while Bevington, with 76 total blocks, including 37 solo stops, will defend the net.
The Purple Raiders come to Tiffin sporting an 18-5 overall and 4-0 OAC record following a 3-1 defeat of John Carroll University last Tuesday in Alliance. The offense is led by Taylor Webb with 292 kills and a .325 hitting percentage and Julie Radigan with 727 assists. On defense, Deanna Glass will take charge at the net, having recorded 87 total blocks this season, while Kristen Gromes leads with 368 digs. Gromes has also served a team-best 28 aces.
Heidelberg boasts a perfect 4-0 record on its home court, while Mount Union is 3-2 on the road.
A ‘Berg victory will keep the Tri-Color in sole possession of first place in the OAC, while a Purple Raider win would create at least a two-way tie for the top spot. Otterbein University, which hosts Capital University on Saturday, is 4-1 in the league.
Following Saturday evening’s match, Heidelberg will travel to University Heights to face John Carroll University in a conference match on Tuesday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m.