By Caleb Scott
BEREA — The No. 22-ranked Ohio Northern volleyball team opened the OAC/HCAC Challenge on Friday afternoon, sweeping Mt. St. Joseph and defeating Hanover (Ind.) at the Rudolph Ursprung Gymnasium.
The Polar Bears improve to 12-3 overall, while the Lions drop to 9-4, and the Panthers fall to 11-4.
Sophomore McKenna Jordan (Toledo/St. Ursula) led the way offensively in the first contest with a game-high 12 kills, while senior Haley Potters (Wheelersburg/South Webster) chipped in 10 kills and sophomore Chelsea Huppert (Bremen, Ind.) added eight kills.
The trio of Polar Bears all hit .480 or better during the match.
In the first set, Northern raced out to a 10-2 lead.
After MSJ closed the gap to 13-7, ONU scored seven straight to take a commanding 20-7 lead and eventually seal the 25-10 set one victory.
Kills by Potters, Jordan, Huppert and Wade led Northern to a quick 6-0 lead in the second set, before they stretched lead to as many as 23-5 behind back-to-back-to-back kills from sophomore Sydney Bapst (Grove City).
Northern held the lead throughout the third set, but MSJ would battle to pull within 19-17.
A 6-2 run led by three kills from Potters would seal the sweep.
In the second contest against Hanover, Northern fell in the first set before answering with a convincing 25-11 victory in the second set.
In the third set, ONU took advantage of multiple Hanover miscues to jump out to a 5-1 lead early on.
After a HC kill pulled the Panthers within 21-14, Northern ripped off four straight points behind two kills from Huppert to take the third set.
ONU wasted no time grabbing the lead in the final set as it jumped out to a 10-3 lead.
Hanover would fight back to climb within 19-16 before a 6-1 run for ONU sealed the victory.
Northern will return to action on Saturday morning as it takes on Defiance at 10 am and wraps up the tournament against Bluffton at 2 pm.