SPRINGFIELD, Ohio – Denison volleyball had their NCAC Tournament run ended on Saturday afternoon following a 3-1 (19-25, 16-25, 25-18, 21-25) championship loss to DePauw University at 5 p.m. in Springfield. The Big Red reached the North Coast Athletic Conference Championship match after sweeping Kenyon 3-0 (25-17, 26-24, 25-21) in the semifinal round.
In the semifinals, the Big Red attack was highlighted by Lucy Anderson's 13 kills on 28 attempts with three blocks while Alex Tubbs followed with nine kills and a .538 hit rate on 13 attempts. Denison forced nine Kenyon errors in the first set on their way to a 25-17 victory with three total kills from Tubbs.
The second set saw both sides combine for 28 kills with Kenyon recovering from an 18-14 deficit with finishes from Lauren Limbach and Maleah Miller to tie the match at 19-19. Following a KC timeout, the Ladies tied the match at 24-24 on a Big Red service error, but Denison closed out the set win after Sidney Gossard cashed in on a kill and service ace.
Trailing 9-4 early on in the third set, Denison tallied 14 of the next 18 points to build their lead to 18-13. After Emma Woerner secured a kill to lead 23-19, DU finished the match sweep with back-to-back finishes from Tubbs to earn the set victory, 25-21.
In Saturday's championship tilt with DePauw, the Big Red battled back from a 19-13 first set deficit with kills from Anderson, Woerner, and Tubbs to climb back within five, 24-19. Following a DU service error, DePauw opened the match with a 1-0 set lead.
Trailing 2-0 entering the third set, Denison found life behind 11 kills and a .231 hit percentage to end the set with six-straight points on four Tiger attacking errors and a finish from Anderson.
The final set saw the Big Red jump out to an early 9-5 advantage, but DePauw turned in a 17-7 scoring run that put the Tigers in front, 22-16. A kill from Payton McElfresh helped fuel a Denison rally to only trail 24-21, but a DU attacking error ended the match as the Big Red finished the season at 18-8 and 6-2 in NCAC play. DePauw will earn the NCAC's automatic bid to the 2019 NCAA Division III Tournament with an overall record of 18-12.
Anderson (11), Woerner (11), and Gossard (10) each tallied 10 or more kills in the match, while Tight led DU with 35 assists and McElfresh added a team-best 14 digs. Morgan Stearley led DePauw with 22 kills and added 17 digs. Liv Hartman posted 15 kills while Jenna Purichia and Kaylee Nichols led the night with 19 digs each.
Denison closed out their 2019 season at 18-8 overall while posting a 10-match winning streak, the longest in program history since 1993.