GAMBIER, Ohio – Denison volleyball traveled to Gambier, Ohio on Saturday morning to take part in the 2018 Kenyon College Invitational where the Big Red earned a two-match split at the Kenyon Athletic Center, defeating Grove City College 3-0 (25-23, 25-20, 25-20) after falling to Mount St. Joseph, 3-1 (19-25, 28-26, 18-25, 25-20) to open the day.
In the win over Grove City, the Big Red posted an early 4-2 advantage in the first set, led by service aces from senior Julia Miller and freshman Payton McElfresh. The Wolverines closed the gap and eventually took a 12-11 lead, but DU came storming back to take the next five points on kills from Miller, McElfresh, Emma Woerner, and Alex Tubbs. With the set tied at 23-23, GC's Emma Hartshorn committed a service error and Miller followed with a service ace to take the first set, 25-23.
Opening the second set with a 10-9 deficit, the Big Red tallied 16 of the next 26 points to secure the second set, 25-20, thanks to kills from Woerner, McElfresh, Katie Aucamp, and Olivia Burnside. The final set followed the same suit, including the match-winning assist-to-kill combination of Miller and Tubbs, respectfully.
Finishing the match with 43 total kills, the Big Red were led by McElfresh and Aucamp, who combined for more than half of the team's kills (22), while Woerner and Tubbs each added seven kills. McElfresh also paced DU with 20 digs, and Miller led both sides with 35 assists. The Wolverines received a team-best nine kills from Maria Boris, while Katie McClymonds led GC with 19 digs.
Against Mount St. Joseph, DU fell in the first set 25-19 but rebounded in the second frame on multiple service aces from Kaila Kasper and a total of six kills from Woerner and senior Isabella Pivec to even the match at 1-1.
Despite cutting the MSJ lead to 13-10 in the third set, the Big Red dropped the final two sets to finish the Kenyon Invite with a 1-1 record.
Woerner's 13 kills and 16 digs paced the Big Red against the Lions, while Miller added 22 assists and 11 digs.
Denison will return to Granville on Tuesday, September 11 for their home opener at Livingston Gymnasium with Marietta College. The match is set to begin at 7 p.m.