By Tim Glon
ADA — The Ohio Northern volleyball team hit an impressive .312 for the match and posted a convincing 25-14, 25-21, 25-19 victory over No. 14-ranked Otterbein Tuesday night at the ONU Sports Center.
The Polar Bears improve to 14-7 overall and are 3-1 in Ohio Athletic Conference play, while the Cardinals fall to 18-5, 3-1 and see their 9-match winning streak come to an end.
Hogrefe hit an incredible .706, with her 12 kills coming in only 17 attempts with no errors. She also added two blocks and two service.
Gillespie hit .435 with 12 kills and just two errors on 23 attempts and Sessler hit .379 with her 12 kills and just one error on 29 attempts.
"I am so happy for our young team to come out and play so well against a quality opponent like Otterbein," ONU head coach Kate Witte said. "We have the ability, but we are so young. We have struggled with our consistency and it was nice to see us put it together for an entire match. Otterbein is a very talented team and for us to play this well hopefully will give us confidence as the season goes on."
Sophomore Heather Saunier and freshman Ashley Borchers dished out 22 and 15 assists, respectively, while Gillespie had 17 digs, Sessler had 12 digs and senior Jeni Kmic had 11 digs for the Polar Bears.
Otterbein was led by Kim Barker with eight kills.
Hogrefe got Ohio Northern off to a fast start and set the tone early with eight kills in the first set.
She had three kills as ONU built a 10-4 lead, only to see OU rally to within 14-11.
Three more kills by Hogrefe and two kills by Sessler sparked a 7-1 run that gave Northern a commanding 22-12 advantage.
The Polar Bears hit .385 with 18 kills in only 39 attempts in the first set.
In Set 2, it was Gillespie's turn to carry the load, drilling five of her 12 kills.
Trailing 16-13, kills from Sessler, Gillespie and Hogrefe keyed a 4-0 run to give ONU a 17-16 lead.
Another Gillespie kill put ONU up 21-18 and a kill by freshman Kelli Weininger gave Ohio Northern a 24-21 advantage.
A service error by Otterbein, one of four for the match, gave the Polar Bears a 2-0 lead.
In Set 3, Sessler had five kills to help put the match away.
She had three kills in a 6-0 run that gave ONU an 18-11 lead.
After the Cardinals pulled within 19-15, a kill by Gillespie and an ace by Saunier extended Northern's lead to 21-15.
Back-to-back kills by Gillespie and Weininger made it 23-17 Ohio Northern would hang on to win the match with the match point coming on another OU service error.
The Polar Bears will return to action Friday night with a 7 pm contest against OAC foe Marietta at the ONU Sports Center as part of Homecoming Weekend.