TIFFIN – The public address announcer at Seiberling Gymnasium has bestowed nicknames on most of the key players of the Heidelberg University volleyball team. As monikers like The Lefty, The Silent Assassin and The Flying Wombat echoed off the red rafters at Sayger Court, one alias stood out on Tuesday.
And with 25 kills in a 3-1 win over Capital University, Sarah "The Terror" Parker lived up to the name. Attacking at a .434 clip, the sophomore terrorized the Crusaders and buoyed the Student Princes hopes of hosting an OAC Tournament Quarterfinal match.
Heidelberg (18-11, 5-2 OAC) jumped out to a 3-0 lead thanks to a kill and two service aces by Mariah Sullivan. Capital (10-19, 2-6 OAC) fought their way back into the set and took a 10-7 lead with a 5-0 run. Seemingly uninspired, the Berg trailed the rest of the way and dropped the set, 25-23.
The Tricolor came out flat in the second, which prompted an early timeout from head coach Jason Miller. Down 6-2, HU steadily climbed back and tied the match at 10. A 5-0 run midway through the set put The Berg up 17-14. Miller's crew maintained the cushion and knotted the match at one with a 25-22 win.
In a 25-16 drubbing of CAP, Heidelberg used an 8-1 run to take control. The run was keyed by a pair of kills from Parker and a kill by the left-handed Stephanie Romie.
A strong attack by Jamie Kluding gave HU a 9-4 lead and prompted a Capital timeout. Still down by five midway through the set, CAP drew even at 15 with a 5-0 run, aided by three HU attack errors. The purple-clad Crusaders kept the momentum rolling and led 21-18. Two kills by both Parker and Rachel Stroski propelled Heidelberg to a 25-23 win. HU closed the deciding set on a 7-2 streak.
Inside the Box Score
Parker's 25 kills was a season high and tied her career high set in a thrilling five-set win over Ohio Northern in the semifinals of last year's OAC Tournament.
Romie finished with 11 kills and 43 assists, leaving her 15 assists shy of 1,000 for the season. The reigning OAC player of the week has 1,660 career assists, seventh-best in program history.
Jubilee Haase contributed a team-high 24 digs to the defensive effort, bringing her career total to 992.
Heidelberg hit at a .269 percentage as a team, including .343 in the fourth set.
Head coach Jason Miller on dropping the first set after three straight 3-0 victories: "I think they were pressing. We made a lot of uncharacteristic errors in that first set, and a lot of it was just not communicating, not being aggressive. I just told them to relax and play."
Miller on Parker's terrorizing performance: "We're fortunate [Sarah] Parker had a nightlike this. This is the kind of player she is and it is who I expect her to be."
Heidelberg and John Carroll sit in a two-way tie for third place at 6-2. On Saturday, the conference leaders Otterbein and Mount Union – both 7-1 – will meet in Alliance. The winner will win the OAC regular season crown and claim the #1 seed. Numerous tie-breaking scenarios are in play as the season ends on Saturday.
With a win over Wilmington, Heidelberg will finish in a tie for second place and will host a quarterfinal match on Tuesday.
Between the second and third set, members of the 2013-14 wrestling team were recognized. The team finished 5-0 in OAC dual meets and won its second-straight title.
Heidelberg closes the regular season by hosting the 2-25 Wilmington Quakers on Saturday. The match time has been moved back one hour to accommodate the celebration of the final game of men's soccer coach Brian Haley. First serve is scheduled for a 5 p.m. start.