Volleyball rallies for thrilling five-set win over Denison

Volleyball rallies for thrilling five-set win over Denison

By Tim Glon

ADA — Freshman Clair Heitkamp drilled a career-high 15 kills to lead the Ohio Northern volleyball team to a come-from-behind 20-25, 25-20, 22-25, 25-23, 15-5 victory over Denison Wednesday night at the ONU Sports Center.

The Polar Bears improve to 6-5 on the season, while the Big Red falls to 8-4.

Trailing two sets to one, Northern used a 10-2 run to take a 15-6 lead in Set 4.

Denison scored six of the next seven points to pull within 16-12 and then scored four straight to tie the match at 18-all.

But two kills by Heitkamp sparked a 4-0 ONU run and the hists had regained a 22-18 advantage.

Trailing 24-20, DU scored three straight to pull within 24-23, but a kill by sophomore setter Heather Saunier gave ONU a 25-23 win and evened the match at two sets apeice.

The Polar Bears would score the first three points of Set 5 and use a 7-0 run to take a commanding 12-2 lead.

Two kill by freshman Kelli Weininger, two kills by Heitkamp and two aces by sophomore Alexis Mills would spark the decisive rally and give ONU its 19th consecutive win over the Big Red in the series that dates back to 1975.

Sophomore Ellie Gillespie had 11 kills, Saunier dished out 40 assists and senior Jeni Kmic and freshman Kristin Sessler each had 16 digs for ONU.

Denison was led by Brittany Perry with 11 kills and Lauren Gustafson and Kenzie Kuhn with 10 kills apiece.

The Big Red used a 7-1 run to take control of Set 1, turning a 13-11 lead into a 21-12 advantage.

DU led 9-5 early in Set 2 before Ohio Northern rallied with an 11-5 run to go up 16-14.

Back-to-back kills by sophomore Anna Ricker extended ONU's lead to 20-16.

The Big Red regained momentum in the match with a 6-1 run midway through Set 3 to go ahead 16-14.

ONU pulled within 19-18, but Denison would score the next three points to go back up 22-18 and hold on the for set.

The Polar Bears will return to action Friday and Saturday at the OAC/HCAC Challenge at Capital.