TIFFIN, Ohio—The top-seeded and ninth-ranked (American Volleyball Coaches Association) Heidelberg University volleyball team earned the Ohio Athletic Conference’s automatic qualifying bid to the NCAA volleyball tournament by defeating No. 4 seed Baldwin-Wallace College, 3-0 (25-17, 25-15, 26-24), tonight in the second semifinal match of the 2011 OAC Volleyball Tournament at Seiberling Gymnasium in Tiffin, Ohio. The Berg faces No. 3 seed University of Mount Union in tomorrow’s championship match at 2 p.m.
Heidelberg (31-6, 9-0 OAC) earned the conference’s automatic qualifying bid by virtue of winning the OAC regular season championship and advancing to the finals match of the league tournament. Under 12th-year head coach Jason Miller, the Berg is making its fifth appearance in the finals and looking for its second straight championship.
Mount Union (23-7, 7-2 OAC) is appearing in the finals for the second time (1999) and looking for its first OAC tournament title. The Purple Raiders beat No. 2 seed Otterbein University in four sets in the first semifinal match.
Live stats and a live webcast of tomorrow’s match will be available at http://www.heidelberg.edu/athletics/teams/volleyball/schedule-0/vb2011/oacfinals. Josh Stallings and Drew Felton have the call.
Senior two-time All-OAC outside hitter Venessa Haase (Miamisburg) recorded her 10th double-double of the season and second of the tournament with a match-high 11 kills and 10 digs to lead the Tri-Color. Haase also served three aces.
Junior setter Rachel Ferguson (Brighton, Mich./Brighton) and sophomore setter Alexa Frank (Tiffin/Calvert) set up 20 attacks and 17 attacks, respectively, combined for more assists (37) than Baldwin-Wallace had as a team (24) and set the offense to the tune of a .296 hitting percentage.
Defensively, freshman libero Tessa Benanzer (Fort Loramie), who had three aces of her own, totaled 12 digs to lead the Berg. Senior reigning OAC player of the year Jackie Reinhart (New Riegel) etched 11 digs in addition to seven kills. Junior second-team All-OAC middle blocker Marian Bevington (Celina/Parkway) and sophomore middle hitter Amber Welfle (Norwalk/St. Paul) each blocked a match-high four attacks.
Amanda Sawicki and Jessica Stitts led the Yellow Jacket (18-13, 5-4 OAC) offense with eight kills and 17 assists, respectively. Natalie Emmons tallied eight digs on defense.
Heidelberg and Mount Union will face each other in the tournament championship for the first time. Earlier this season, the Berg defeated the Purple Raiders, 3-1 (25-17, 20-25, 25-18, 25-22) in Tiffin on Oct. 15.
Adult admission to the final round is $7. Admission for senior citizens is $5, $2 for non-OAC students under 18 and free for OAC students. OAC Lifetime Passes will be honored for all championships. Regular-season passes will not be honored.