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Denison falls short in four-sets to #4 Witt

Marija Pavlick  |  Photo by Jace Delgado
Marija Pavlick | Photo by Jace Delgado

GRANVILLE, Ohio – Despite a 25-21 victory in the opening set, Denison volleyball suffered their fourth NCAC loss of the season on Wednesday evening to No. 4 Wittenberg University by a final score of 3-1 (25-21, 18-25, 19-25, 10-25) at Livingston Gymnasium in Granville.

Outhitting the Tigers .211 to .082 in the first set, the Big Red opened the match with three-straight points on attacking errors from Wittenberg and a kill from sophomore Kaila Kasper.

After Witt evened the set at 10-10 off a kill from Aubrey Cox, a kill from Alex Tubbs was followed by six consecutive attacking errors from the Tigers as Denison jumped out to a 17-10 advantage. Leading 21-19 toward the end of the set, Kasper and freshman libero Marija Pavlick combined for DU's final four points of the frame as the Big Red took an early 1-0 lead.

In the second set, kills from Isabella Pivec and Payton McElfresh helped the Big Red go in front 4-3, but multiple kills from Paige Kucinic allowed the Tigers to tally the next six points on their way to a 9-4 advantage.

Both sides traded shots until a kill from Tubbs cut the Denison deficit to 23-18, but the next two points belonged to Wittenberg as they tied the match at 1-1.

The Tigers continued their momentum in the third set with an early 13-8 lead. Four consecutive points from DU and a kill from Julia Miller kept the Big Red within two, 17-15, but Witt rallied for eight of the next 12 points to enter the fourth set up 2-1.

Led by a 10-2 start to the fourth set, Wittenberg finished the match on a 15-8 scoring run to send the Big Red to 6-11 overall and 1-4 in the North Coast Athletic Conference. The Tigers improved to 15-2 on the season, including a 4-0 mark in conference play.

Tied for the team lead with nine kills each, Kasper and McElfresh also combined for 31 digs on the evening. Pavlick's 12 digs finished in a tie for second best on the team while Miller paced DU with 28 assists. Pivec chipped in seven kills and Tubbs added four.

Three Wittenberg players finished with double-digit kills on the night, including a match-high 18 from Kennedy Schmidt. Karen Wildemann led the match with 47 assists and Taylor Yontz collected 24 digs.

Denison returns to action on Saturday, October 13 when they head to Meadville, Pa. to take on Allegheny College at 1 p.m.