COLUMBUS, Ohio – Six days after taking No. 8 Hillsdale to the limit, Ohio Dominican's volleyball team had a similar effort against No. 11 Ferris State but came up on the short end of a 3-1 (19-25, 25-21, 25-27, 17-25) decision Saturday evening in Alumni Hall.
The Panthers dropped to 11-14 (4-11 GLIAC), while the Bulldogs – the top team in the North Division and just percentage points behind Hillsdale for tops in the GLIAC – improved to 20-2 (14-1 GLIAC).
After the Bulldogs pulled away in the first set – using a 6-1 run in the middle of the set to take control – the Panthers responded with a strong start in the second, as the serving of freshman Lauren Rindler (Rossburg, Ohio) helped put ODU in front 5-1. FSU came back to forge one of four ties in the set 13-13, but a pair of kills by sophomore Tara Winner (Versailles, Ohio) put ODU in front 18-15. The Bulldogs narrowed the gap to 19-18, but blocks by Winner and Emily Post (St. Henry, Ohio) and a pair of kills by freshman Brianna Reder (Maineville, Ohio) helped the Panthers take the set, handing FSU just its fifth loss in a set in conference play this year.
FSU jumped to a 6-1 lead in the third frame, but ODU slowly chipped away as Reder's kill cut the deficit to one at 13-12. Kills by senior Rachel Billing (Anna, Ohio) and freshman Caitlin Kusan (Westerville, Ohio) and a pair of Bulldog attack errors gave the Panthers their first lead at 19-17, but a 6-2 run by FSU put the Bulldogs back on top at 23-21. ODU was resilient, fighting off set points on a pair of kills by Billing to knot the set at 25-25, but two Bulldog kills sealed the set.
The Panthers hung tight with Ferris in the fourth set, but a 5-0 run by the Bulldogs gave them a 15-10 lead, and ODU could only draw as near as four points down the stretch.
Billing led the Panthers with a team-high 15 kills, hitting .351 in the match, and Winner tallied 11 kills. Reder had a solid effort with nine kills and a .348 attack percentage, while Kusan had eight kills.
The Panthers defense was solid, tallying a season-high 83 digs. Senior Stacy Rogg (Cincinnati, Ohio) led the effort with 29 stops, while Rindler – making her first career start – had 16 digs. Billing had 15 digs to finish with a double-double and junior Meredith Shifley (Galion, Ohio) had her first career double-double with 28 assists and 11 digs.
Ohio Dominican closes out its 2011 home schedule at 2 p.m. Sunday against Saginaw Valley State. Prior to the match, Billing and Rogg will be honored for Senior Day.
Contact: Scott Miles