The 17th-ranked Otterbein Cardinals ended Denison's six-game winning streak with a 3-1 (22-25, 25-22, 25-17, 25-18) victory over the Big Red on Wednesday night at Livingston Gymnasium in Granville.
The two squads battled back-and-forth in the opening set, trading off points for the majority of the set. Neither team held more than a two-point lead through the first 22 points of the set. Tied at 11-11, sophomore Elena Lein hammered down a kill to give DU the lead once again. A pair of Cardinal miscues allowed Denison to take a three-point edge. Ahead 14-12, the Big Red rattled off a 6-2 run to take a 20-14 lead. Otterbein committed four errors during the run, while the Big Red got a solo block from sophomore Kenzie Kuhn and a thunderous kill by sophomore Annemarie Fischer. The Cards rallied to trim the deficit to 24-22, but a kill to the back right corner by Lein secured the set victory for DU.
After dropping the opening set, Otterbein showed why they were a nationally-ranked squad as they made the proper adjustments and rattled off three-straight wins to secure the match. After posting a sub .200 hitting percentage in the first two sets, the Cardinals hit .211 in the third set and .500 in the fourth to nail down their 22nd victory of the season.
The sophomore quartet of Fischer, Brittany Perry, Lein and Kuhn all recorded six kills, while senior Lauren Gustafson had four finishers. Freshman setter Carly Newell dished out 16 assists, while junior Jessica Borsani logged 12 helpers. Junior libero Emily Marguerite paced the defense with 26 digs in four sets. At the net, Lein and Kuhn each had a solo block, while Lein also had two block assists.
Annie Juenger paced the OC attack with 16 kills, while Kendel Kellogg recorded 13 kills. Setter Tabatha Piper had 34 assists and nine kills to go along with five digs. Gracie Staten served up three aces and registered 10 digs, while Juenger led the squad with 13 digs.
Denison falls to 17-6, while the Cardinals improve to 22-6. The Big Red resumes North Coast Athletic Conference play on Saturday when they host Kenyon in their home finale. Match time from Livingston Gymnasium is slated for 2 p.m.