With their highest hitting percentage of the season at .276, the Big Red Women’s Volleyball team was an offensive powerhouse against 5-19 Allegheny this past Saturday.
Coming off of a 3-1 loss against #4 Wittenberg earlier in the week, Denison was eager to secure an away victory against the Gators.
The Big Red picked up their second North Coast Athletic Conference victory of the season. Offensively, they set a season high hitting percentage of .276, play that proved extremely valuable in earning this away victory.
Senior setter Julia Miller, a global commerce and communication double major from Battle Creek, MI, commented, “We had our highest hitting percentage of the season and a lot of that was due to our passers keeping us in the system.”
The Big Red came out with fierce play in the first set with a 25-20 win led offensively by sophomore outside hitter Kaila Kasper and senior right side hitter Isabella Pivec. Allegheny’s two timeouts called toward the end of the set failed to break the Big Red offense. With a total of 14 kills in the first set, the Big Red came out strong with the aggressive play that they needed.
Allegheny committed 7 errors in the first set, which allowed Denison to take advantage of the apparent momentum on their side of the court and pull forward with a first set win that set a precedent for the rest of the match.
“Our blocking helped us gain and keep momentum. Hitters did a great job of mixing up shots and maintaining consistency,” said Miller.
In the second set, the Big Red were able to out attack the Allegheny with 15 kills compared to the Gators’ 8. Kasper ‘22 came out strong with two kills of her own, earning her team two points early on. Freshman middle hitter Olivia Burnside and sophomore outside hitter Payton McElfresh both had three kills of their own, contributing positively to the team’s offensive effort.
With few errors committed and compatible play among players on the Big Red side, Denison secured a 25-14 second set win.
Spirited play carried on throughout the third set for the Big Red, resulting in a 25-16 win. Pivec ‘19 earned five kills of her own, while Kasper ‘22 and McElfresh ‘22 contributed seven kills overall to the set.
Allegheny hitter Grace Lengauer led her team with 11 kills, but the Big Red were able to successfully channel their defense and fight back. Defensively, four players reached double figures in digs, led by McElfresh ‘22 with 15, Marija Pavlick ‘22 with 13 and Miller ‘19 with 12.
“I think Saturday was just another example of how much the team wants to succeed. We went into the gym knowing that we had a job to do. The mix of that, our defenders not letting anything hit the floor, and our setter knowing exactly what to run and having confidence in her hitters drove us to an awesome shutout,” said Kasper ‘22, an economics major from Chicago, Illinois.
Miller ‘19 had 31 assists of her own, resulting in energetic play from the front row. Additionally, she added 12 digs.
“We’re finding our groove, playing for each other and becoming more and more hungry to compete as the season goes on,” said Miller ’19.
After securing this victory on the road, Denison now stands 2-4 in the conference, with an overall record of 7-11.
Their next home game is at the end of the month on the 24 against the Wooster Fighting Scots at 7 p.m. in Livingston Gymnasium.