ASHLAND, Ohio – In a fierce battle for GLIAC Volleyball Tournament seeding, the Eagles earned a key GLIAC South win on Friday (Nov. 4) win at Ohio Dominican, sweeping the Panthers in straight sets, 28-26, 25-20, 25-23.
The Eagles (17-11, 10-8 GLIAC) are now in a three-way tie for sixth place in the GLIAC with Tiffin and Northwood. Ashland travels to Tiffin on Saturday (Nov. 5) in the regular season finale.
On Friday, Ashland was led by freshman Kate Eckels (Loveland, Ohio/Mt. Notre Dame) junior Anesia Benton (Lima, Ohio/Senior), who had 17 and 16 kills, respectively. Meanwhile, sophomore setter Crystal Elliott (Canal Winchester, Ohio) finished with a match-high 50 assists
The Eagles trailed, 11-4, in the first set, but rallied to tie the score at 17-17. Neither team led by more than a point after that point until the Eagles close out when freshman Susannah Jonas (Harrison, Ohio) served an ace to give AU the 28-26 win. Before that, the Eagles fought off three set points, two on kills by Benton. The Eagles tied the set at 26-26 on an error by Emily Post. Ashland took the first-set lead on a kill by Eckels before Jonas' winning ace.
Ashland opened the second set by taking a 13-6 lead. The Panthers (7-19, 2-16 GLIAC) pulled back to tie the second set at 18-18. At that point, the Eagles reeled off four straight points to take control before going on two win, 25-20.
Ohio Dominican led, 3-2, in the third set, but the Eagles went on a 7-1 run to take a 9-4 lead. The Panthers were never able to tie the set after that point as the Eagles went on for the 25-23 win. Benton came up with the winning kill.
She hit .333 in the match with 16 kills in 33 attacks with five errors. Eckels hit .238 with 17 kills and nine digs. As a team, AU hit .252 while limiting the Panthers to just .140.
Jonas finished with nine kills, while senior Sophie Paddock (Girard, Ohio/Hubbard) had six kills and four total blocks (one solo, three assisted). Freshman Baley Bernthisel (Grand Rapids, Ohio/Otsego) had five blocks in the match (one solo, four assisted). The Eagles had 10 blocks in all.
Junior libero Arian Martin (Independence, Ohio) finished with a team-high 23 digs. It was her fifth straight match with 20 or more digs and sixth overall. Senior Lauren Schweitzer (Dublin, Ohio/Bishop Watterson) had 11 digs.
Rachel Billing led Ohio Dominican with 15 kills and Summer Hale finished with 21 assists.
The Eagles have a key GLIAC South match on Saturday (Nov. 6) at 1 p.m. It is AU's regular season finale. Ashland and Tiffin are tied for sixth place in the GLIAC with Northwood. The Eagles open GLIAC Tournament play on Thursday (Nov. 11) and will play on the road at either Hillsdale, Grand Valley State or Northern Michigan.