BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University volleyball team dropped a four-setter to Manchester University on Senior Night in the Sommer Center. The Beavers fell to 13-13 overall and 5-3 in the Heartland Conference on Wednesday, Oct. 24. Manchester improved to 7-16 and 3-4 in the HCAC.
Trailing two sets to none after dropping consecutive 25-22 decisions, the home team went up 6-1 in the third, thanks to six straight Brooke Kleman (Ottawa/Ottawa-Glandorf) serves, en route to the 25-10 shellacking of the Spartans. Bluffton was well on its way to forcing a fifth set, up 14-7 at the turn, before Manchester found its first-set magic. The Spartans fought back to within one at 17-16 before the home team rallied for a 22-19 lead. That was it for the Beavers, unfortunately, as Manchester closed it out with six straight counters, including three consecutive aces.
Bethany Martini (Pickerington/North) finished with 10 kills, while fellow senior Erin Weisgarber (Bolivar/Tuscarawas Valley) drove home nine winners against no errors for a sparkling .391 hitting percentage. Freshman Maddie White (Ashland) spanked five kills without a miss on just six swings for a nearly-perfect .833 hitting percentage. Senior Jessie Gibson (Warsaw/River View) tallied six kills and equalled her career best with six blocks.
Kleman topped the back line with 23 digs, while Wesigarber, who doled out 25 assists, helped the cause with 16 pickups. Abby Rohrbach (New Knoxville) and Martini chipped in with 15 and 11 digs, respectively. Sophomore Jessica Lovell (Grove City) shattered her career best with four blocks.
Bluffton will look to snap its two-match skid when the Beavers head to Earlham College on Saturday, Oct. 27, for the regular season finale. The first serve is slated for 2 p.m. in Richmond, Ind.