#12 Volleyball wins OAC Tournament title, tops Otterbein in 5-set thriller

#12 Volleyball wins OAC Tournament title, tops Otterbein in 5-set thriller

By Scott Beaton

ADA — The No. 12-ranked Ohio Northern volleyball team survived four match points en route to edging Otterbein 21-25, 25-23, 23-25, 27-25, 16-14 in the OAC Tournament Finals on Saturday afternoon in an incredible atmosphere at the ONU Sports Center.

ONU (26-5 overall) earn the OAC's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament, winning its 21st OAC Tournament title. Ohio Northern head coach Kate Witte won her 15th OAC Tournament title.

Otterbein led 14-13 in the 5th set but a kill by senior Sydney Bapst (Grove City), a Cardinal attacking error, and another Bapst kill won the match for the Polar Bears.

The Polar Bears and Cardinals (25-6) will learn their NCAA tournament fate during the NCAA selection show on Monday at 12:30 p.m.

Bapst had 14 kills, senior McKenna Jordan (Toledo/St. Ursula) posted 14 kills and 10 digs and senior All-American Chelsea Huppert (Bremen, Ind.) recorded 11 kills, seven blocks, and six digs.

Jordan moves into a tie for 10th with Laura Vuyk on ONU's list of all-time kills leaders.

Additionally, freshman Madison Kern (Loveland/Mount Notre Dame) registered a career-best nine blocks while chipping in eight kills.

Junior Katie Wade (Battle Creek, Mich./Harper Creek) dished out 46 assists and added 20 digs while senior McKenna Hostetler (Plain City/Alder) anchored the backline with 25 digs.

After dropping the first set, Northern rallied to win the second set.

The Polar Bears trailed 8-5 early before leading 23-20. OU responded to tie the set at 23-all. Back-to-back kills by Huppert clinched the set for ONU.

In the third set, Northern led 19-9, but the Cardinals rallied to win the set 25-23.

The Polar Bears fended off a trio of match points in the fourth set en route to winning the set 27-25 to extend the match.

ONU recorded 17 total blocks, its best mark of the season.

Northern hit .194 with 57 kills, 17 errors, and 206 swings while Otterbein hit .219 with 82 kills, 34 errors, and 219 total attacks.

The championship marks the 19th time in ONU volleyball history that the team has won both the regular season and tournament titles. This is the 13th instance under Witte.