DELAWARE – The Heidelberg University volleyball team has seemingly found their rhythm at the right time of the season, the final stretch. The Student Princes defeated their second ranked foe of the season on Friday, taking down No. 22 Ohio Wesleyan in four sets on the road. Heidelberg came out strong and took the first two sets, but was unable to rebound in the third set after a slow start. They quickly put that behind them as they won a hard-fought fourth set to head back to Tiffin with a big victory.
This match had postseason implications on both sides, as Ohio Wesleyan entered the day ranked fourth in the Great Lakes region in the most recent Division III regional rankings while Heidelberg was ranked directly behind them in fifth.
Sarah Parker moved into 6th place in Heidelberg history for career kills with her 17 in the victory. That put her with 1,184 for her career, passing Sarah Hess (1,168 kills, 2002-05) and Emily Hurlburt (1,180 kills, 2005-08) in the record book.
Karlie DiRuzza had 54 assists, which put her season total up to 1,074, passing Stephanie Romie (2014) for 8th most in a season in Heidelberg school history.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Heidelberg (22-6) controlled play throughout much of the first set. After trailing 1-0, the Student Princes quickly imposed their will and roared out to a commanding 8-2 lead. They were able to maintain that lead through the remainder of the set as they went on to take it 25-17 after an OWU service error.
The second set looked to be going the same way as the first, but the hosts had an answer. Ohio Wesleyan (25-4) knotted up the score at 17 after trailing by as many as four early on. The Berg was able to regain their momentum, however, as they rattled off six straight points to pull away, taking the set 25-18 after a block by Strenk and Parker sealed the set.
The Student Princes got off to a sluggish start in the third set as OWU got out to a quick 12-5 lead. Heidelberg was able to trim that lead slightly, but they never got over the hump in the set as the Battling Bishops went on to take the set 25-20.
Looking to rebound in the fourth set, Heidelberg came out strong to start after they took an 8-2 lead. Despite building that edge out to 15-9, the Student Princes were unable to keep OWU at bay, as they battled back to tie up the score at 19. Heidelberg faced set point for OWU with the hosts leading 24-23, but back-to-back kills by Parker put the Berg back ahead. After OWU tied things up again at 25, kills from Kluding and DiRuzza put the finishing touches on the win as the Student Princes took the set 27-25.
Heidelberg will be back on the road on Saturday when they travel to Wilmington to wrap up the regular season. The Student Princes can clinch the outright OAC regular-season championship with a win in that match. That contest with the Quakers is scheduled to start at 1:00 p.m.
Regardless of the outcome of that match, Heidelberg will be the top seed in the upcoming OAC Tournament. Their first match in the tournament will be on Tuesday, November 3rd, at 7:00 p.m. in Seiberling Gymnasium.