TIFFIN, Ohio—The Heidelberg University volleyball team closed a perfect 9-0 Ohio Athletic Conference schedule and won its third consecutive OAC regular season championship by sweeping Ohio Northern University (25-19, 25-16, 25-16) tonight on Senior Night at Seiberling Gymnasium in Tiffin, Ohio. Senior reigning OAC player of the year Jackie Reinhart (New Riegel) recorded her 2,000th career dig during the match.
The win closes a second straight 9-0 conference season, improves the Berg to 28-2 overall, extends its winning streak to 19 consecutive matches and extends its winning streak against OAC foes to 21 matches. The Polar Bears slip to 13-15 overall and 4-4 in the OAC.
Competing in their last regular season home match, senior outside hitter Melissa Eck (Parma/Valley Forge), senior middle hitter Venessa Haase (Miamisburg) and Reinhart were honored prior to the contest.
Leading the offensive attack was sophomore middle hitter Amber Welfle (Norwalk/St. Paul) with a match and career-high 15 kills in 24 attacks for an astounding .625 hitting percentage. Junior second-team All-OAC outside hitter Marian Bevington (Celina/Parkway) added 12 kills of her own. Junior setter Rachel Ferguson (Brighton, Mich./Brighton) set the offense with a match-high 22 assists and sophomore setter Alexa Frank (Tiffin/Calvert) added 11 helpers.
Freshman libero Tessa Benanzer (Fort Loramie) defended the Polar Bear attack by tallying a match-high 23 digs. Haase and Reinhart had 14 digs and 11 digs, respectively.
Bevington, Welfle and Reinhart each notched two blocks.
ONU was led on offense by Julia Fuerst with eight kills and Amanda Volosin with 20 assists. Defensively, Jeni Kmic notched 18 digs, while Ellen Grenert etched three blocks.
Just hours before the match, the Berg jumped to No. 5 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association top-25 poll.
Tonight’s match was broadcast live on the ‘Berg Athletics Network (http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/heidelberg.portal#). An archived recording of the broadcast will be available.
Heidelberg next plays Friday and Saturday, Oct. 28-29 with four matches at the Emory (Ga.) Invitational in Atlanta prior to hosting a quarterfinal match of the upcoming OAC Tournament on Tuesday, Nov. 1. The Berg is guaranteed home court advantage throughout the OAC tournament.