Denison falls in heartbreaking loss to Earlham

Julia Miller  |  Photo by Jace Delgado
Julia Miller | Photo by Jace Delgado

GRANVILLE, Ohio – Playing their second match in the past two days, Denison volleyball rounded out their three-match homestand with a 3-2 (25-14, 25-16, 25-27, 21-25, 15-2) heartbreaking loss to Earlham College on Wednesday evening at Livingston Gymnasium in Granville.

During the first two sets of action, it appeared that momentum sided with the Big Red. Taking the first four points of the first set on kills from Emma Woerner and Alex Tubbs, Denison finished the set with nine-straight points, including multiple service aces from freshman Payton McElfresh.

DU took the same control in the second set, finishing the frame with six of the final seven points thanks to Woerner's three kills. The 25-16 set victory gave the Big Red a 2-0 advantage.

Despite an 18-15 Denison lead in the third set, the Quakers tallied five-straight points on their way to a 23-21 advantage. Back-to-back kills from Isabella Pivec tied the match at 23-23, but Earlham forced a pair of DU attacking errors as they cut their set deficit to 2-1.

The momentum swung to Earlham in the fourth set following seven combined kills by Julia Stewart and Sarah Dickman allowing the Quakers to take a 19-16 lead. Points from McElfresh and Woerner brought DU back within two points, 23-21, but a Denison service error and a kill from Dickman tied the match at 2-2, forcing a fifth and final set.

In the first set, Earlham's Angelica Carpio totaled five service aces as the Quakers took the first 13 points of the set on their way to a 15-2 set victory. The loss dropped Denison to 5-8 overall, while EC improved to 11-8.

DU was led by Woerner's 16 kills, while Tubbs and McElfresh tallied eight kills each. Julia Miller paced the Big Red with 37 assists and Marija Pavlick finished with a match-high 20 digs. Earlham's Ashleigh Burton and Dickman combined for 33 kills and a .454 kill percentage, while Lauren Jackson finished with 47 assists.

Denison will hit the road on Saturday, September 29 when they travel to Hiram College for a 1 p.m. matchup with the Terriers.