TIFFIN – In front of a rowdy crowd for their home opener, the Heidelberg University volleyball team rallied after a slow start to take a four-set victory from visiting Defiance College. The Student Princes dropped the second set and fell behind in the third, but a big rally gave them the set and the momentum that they used to finish off the match.
This week's OAC volleyball Player of the Week, Sarah Parker, continued her recent string of strong performances with a team-high 18 kills in the win.
For the match, Heidelberg had a .251 hitting percentage, compared to just .183 for the visiting Yellow Jackets.
Freshman Laura Schrag led the Berg with a .416 hitting percentage. She totaled six kills in the match and played a part in a team-high six blocks.
The Student Princes found themselves with an early advantage after a kill from Mariah Sullivan opened up an 11-7 edge. A service ace from the Yellow Jackets brought score even at 13 later on, as Defiance battled back.
After the score was knotted at 15, five straight points, capped off by an ace from Sydney Moore, gave the Berg a 20-15 lead. Once again, however, defiance fought back.
The Yellow Jackets found themselves with match point, leading 24-22, but kills from Sullivan and Parker evened up the score.
Heidelberg (8-1) was able to complete the comeback when back-to-back kills from Janessa Scott gave the Berg the first set 28-26.
Holding a commanding 20-12 lead late in the second set, Heidelberg looked to be in total control, but that turned out not to be the case.
Defiance (1-8) found a groove and battled all the way back and took the set 25-21 in a set where the Berg hit just .146, their lowest set of the evening.
Defiance looked to have found momentum heading into the third set, as they took a 13-10 lead early on after an ace.
Heidelberg was able to come back and take the lead late, finishing off the set with kills from Sullivan and Jamie Kluding.
After battling for the third set, Heidelberg looked to have gathered all the momentum headed into the fourth, as they roared out to an 8-1 lead, thanks in part to three kills from Kluding.
The Student Princes were able to control the set throughout, as they held up to a small rally from Defiance and went on to finish the match with a 25-17 set win.
Head coach Jason Miller on Tuesday's performance: "I felt that we were standing around a lot tonight ... I think Defiance got the girls off guard a bit. I watched film on Defiance and knew they were a lot better than their record indicated ... Obviously I'm pleased that the girls fought back and got a couple wins in sets we were down ... The level of our competition over the next two weeks will get better and harder, so we need to step up the level of our game."
Junior Sarah Parker on her team's ability to fight back: "To come out like we did, especially in front of a home crowd, is not Heidelberg volleyball and not what we expect of ourselves ... We know what we are capable of, and I think we showed it in that fourth set."
The Student Princes will travel to Springfield this weekend for the Wittenberg Fall Classic, which opens on Friday. The first match for the Berg will be on Friday evening when they take on DePauw at 8:00 p.m.