BLUFFTON, Ohio - The Bluffton University volleyball team snapped a string of three straight setbacks when it dispatched Hanover College in three sets (26-24, 25-17, 25-21) on Wednesday, Oct. 31. With the victory over the Panthers, Bluffton is back in familiar territory as the Beavers return to the Heartland Conference semi-final round for the sixth straight season!
Bluffton trailed by as many as five points in the lidlifter before the Halloween-clad student section started to exert its might. The home team was still down by two (24-22) when a block by sophomores Remi Bower (Deshler/Patrick Henry) and Sarah Heydinger (Tiro/Buckeye Central) ignited a 4-0 Bluffton spurt that cinched set one as Jessica Lovell (Grove City) served the final three points.
Heydinger powered the home team to a convincing 25-17 win in set two on the strength of three kills and an ace. Erin Weisgarber (Bolivar/Tuscarawas Valley) made history late in the set when she doled out career assist 4,276, eclipsing Jayne Miller for the most helpers in Bluffton University volleyball history! She stands #1 with 4,284 career assists.
The Beavers were well on their way to needing a fourth set, down 16-9, when the tide started to turn. Four serves apiece by Bethany Martini (Pickerington/North) and Courtney Zimpfer (Jackson Center) pulled Bluffton within a point at 18-17. A Weisgarber hammer followed by four Abby Rohrbach (New Knoxville) serves put Bluffton up 23-21 before the senior signal caller dialed up her own number again with back-to-back kills and a 25-21 clincher for the 3-0 sweep.
Martini paced the front line with 12 kills, an ace and six digs. Bower added nine putaways, while Weisgarber showed her versatility with 30 assists, seven kills, seven digs and two blocks. Jessie Gibson (Warsaw/River View) added five kills without an error. Heydinger finished with five kills, four blocks, one ace and a dig.
Zimpfer fired three aces to go along with her four assists and seven digs. Brooke Kleman (Ottawa/Ottawa-Glandorf) led the excavators with 17 digs and two kills. Rohrbach was also in double figures with 11 digs and an ace.
Bluffton now moves into the HCAC Tournament semi-final round where the Beavers will lock horns with #1 seed and tourney host Transylvania University on Saturday, Nov. 3. The first serve from Lexington, Ky., is slated for 2 p.m. with #3 seed Earlham taking on #2 seed Rose-Hulman in the other semi-final at 5 p.m.