ALBION, Mich. – Following a pair of victories on Friday night at Olivet, Denison volleyball rounded out the final day of action at the Albion-Olivet Invitational with a 3-0 loss to No. 14 Wisconsin-Eau Claire (25-14, 25-11, 25-11) and a 3-1 defeat by tournament co-host Albion (23-25, 25-19, 29-27, 25-19) on Saturday afternoon at Kresge Gymnasium in Albion, Mich.
Opening the day with the nation's 14th best team, the Big Red entered the second set with a 1-0 deficit after Eau Claire garnered the first six points of the match and won the first set, 25-14.
Despite the deficit, Denison received kills from Kaila Kasper, Alex Tubbs, Payton McElfresh, and Katie Kerrigan to open the third set and to tie the Blugolds at 5-5. UWEC went on to collect 14 of the next 15 points on their way to a second set win and an eventual defeat of the Big Red to open competition. The loss dropped DU to 9-13 overall, while Wisconsin-Eau Claire improved to 25-2 on the season.
The Big Red were led by Tubbs' seven kills, while Kasper and Kerrigan each chipped in five kills each. Kasper, Marija Pavlick, and Julia Miller combined for 32 digs, while Miller paced DU with 19 assists. UWEC's Madelyn Pashibin led the match with eight kills and a .500 hit percentage, while the Blugolds totaled a .348 kill percentage for the match.
Against Albion, the Big Red outhit the Britons in the first set .128 to .125, opening with a 14-9 advantage on multiple kills from McElfresh and sophomore Emma Woerner. Leading 22-20 toward the end of the set, McElfresh connected on DU's final three kills of the set to take an early 1-0 lead on a 25-23 victory.
After dropping the second set 25-19, Denison erased a 14-8 third set deficit with eight unanswered points on four Briton errors and kills from Woerner and Kerrigan to go ahead in the middle of the frame, 16-14.
Following a kill from Kerrigan that put DU at match point, 24-22, kills from Kate Winter and Shelby Palmer allowed Albion to win seven of the final 10 points as Denison dropped the set 29-27 and entered the fourth frame with a 2-1 deficit.
A service ace from Miller and a kill from Woerner helped the Big Red take a 7-4 lead in the final set, but seven consecutive points from AC gave the Britons a 15-9 advantage as they went on to secure the match, 25-19. Denison ended the day with an overall record of 9-14, while Albion moved to 15-11.
Woerner and McElfresh combined for 21 kills and 22 digs in the second match, while Miller tallied 33 assists and Kasper led the team with 16 digs. Albion's Winter, Taylor Rosenthal, and Marie Pregenzer finished with 45 total kills and Grace VanDorn added a career-best 55 assists.
With two matches remaining on the season, Denison returns to Livingston Gymnasium on Wednesday, October 24 for Senior Day at 7 p.m. with the College of Wooster.