GRANVILLE, Ohio – Winners of four of their last six matches, Denison volleyball enters the 2018 North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament as the No. 6 seed after defeating the College of Wooster 3-0 last Wednesday in Granville. The Big Red will now face the familiar foe, No. 7 Wooster, once again in the first round of the conference tournament on Friday, Nov. 2 at 3 p.m. in Springfield, Ohio.
Squaring off in their final conference game of the regular season, the Big Red swept the Fighting Scots after posting a .230 hit percentage for the match, including a match-high .303 in the second set. DU's Emma Woerner and Alex Tubbs led the night with 23 combined kills, while senior Julia Miller added 30 assists and 15 digs. Freshmen Payton McElfresh (10) and Marija Pavlick (18) also finished with double-digit kills as Denison forced 26 Wooster errors and secured their spot in the tournament.
Highlighted by kill rates of .230 or better in two of their last three conference matches, the Big Red offense has found consistency behind Woerner and McElfresh. Woerner, a native of Novato, Calif., currently leads the team in kills with 203 and is tied for third in service aces at 24, while McElfresh, the reigning NCAC Player of the Week, follows with 200 kills and is second on the team in assists (68) and digs (261).
Denison's recent offensive success can be traced back to Miller, who has paced the Big Red with 729 assists this season, including 30 or more assists in seven of her last eight matches. The Battle Creek, Mich. native also sits 16 assists shy of 2,000 for her career (1,984).
Defensively, Pavlick has posted a team-leading 349 digs, while her 4.47 digs per set rank in the top five in the conference. The Big Red currently have four players on their roster with 200 or more digs on the season, led by Pavlick, McElfresh (261), Miller (221), and sophomore Kaila Kasper (217). Also recording 137 total blocks in 2018, Tubbs leads the team with 66 blocks, ranking seventh overall in the conference, while Isabella Pivec and Olivia Burnside follow with 40 blocks each.
The winner of Denison-Wooster will advance to the second round at 7 p.m. to take on third-seeded Hiram College (21-4). The other first-round matchup features No. 5 Ohio Wesleyan and No. 8 Oberlin, with the winner advancing to the second round to face No. 4 Kenyon at 7 p.m.
Tickets for this weekend's NCAC Tournament can be purchased at the arena for $7 for adults and $3 for children (18 years of age and under). NCAC students will receive admission at no cost with proof of a student ID. Each ticket will garner you access to all matches occurring on that specific day.