Panthers Rally Falls Short Against Wayne State

Panthers Rally Falls Short Against Wayne State

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio Dominican's volleyball team pushed GLIAC South Division foe Wayne State to the end, but came up just short in the decisive fourth set, falling 3-1 (25-15, 20-25, 22-25, 24-26) to the Warriors Friday night in Alumni Hall.

Wayne State improved to 10-11 (6-7 GLIAC) and opened up a two-game lead on the Panthers (11-10, 4-7 GLIAC) for third place in the South Division standings.

Trailing 2-1 in the match, ODU built a 6-2 lead in the fourth set and kept that advantage throughout the middle portion of the set, eventually grabbing a 20-16 lead after a kill from Brianna Reder (Maineville, Ohio). The Warriors bounced back, though, with four straight points to even the set. The teams swapped points, with Wayne State going in front 24-23 on a kill by Kristen Bulkiewicz. The Panthers answered on a termination from Rachel Billing (Anna, Ohio), but Wayne State tallied the final two points to close out the set.

Ohio Dominican had one of its most efficient offensive sets of the season to open the match, hitting .520 with 16 kills in 25 attacks and just three errors. The Panthers busted open an 8-7 game with a 9-2 surge, tallying six kills in that stretch to take a 17-9 lead. Billing had five kills in six attacks, Kristy Birkemeier (Columbus Grove, Ohio) had four kills in five attacks, and Tara Winner (Versailles, Ohio) and Caitlin Kusan (Westerville, Ohio) both had three kills in four swings to lead the ODU offense.

Reder's kill in the second set helped the Panthers to an 8-4 advantage early and ODU held a 12-9 lead before the Warriors answered with an 8-2 run, taking their first lead of the set and going in front 17-14. ODU trimmed its deficit to 18-17 on a block by Kusan and Birkemeier, but WSU scored seven of the final nine points to even the match at a set apiece.

The third set was the closest of the match, featuring 12 ties and four lead swings. The Panthers momentarily broke free with three straight points to take a 16-12 lead, but the Warriors rallied to knot the score at 17. The teams swapped points until a pair of ball handling errors by Wayne State staked ODU to a 22-20 lead. WSU surged back, though, closing the set with five straight points to take a 2-1 lead in the match.

Billing paced the Panthers with 16 kills and 18 digs, hitting .229 for the match. Winner hit a match-high .474 as she tallied 10 kills in 19 swings, while Kusan and Birkemeier both had eight kills. Emily Post (St. Henry, Ohio) had five blocks, Kelsey Snyder (Macomb, Mich.) tallied 26 assists, and Stacy Rogg (Cincinnati, Ohio) equaled Billing's total of 18 digs to lead the defense.

The Panthers hit .209 as a team, while the Warriors finished with a .245 attack percentage to take the season series.

Ohio Dominican faces off with Findlay at 5 p.m. Saturday in Alumni Hall.

Contact: Scott Miles

Panthers Power Past Storm, 3-1
September 21, 2011 Panthers Power Past Storm, 3-1