ADA, Ohio -- In a battle of OAC unbeatens, the Heidelberg University volleyball team fell to Ohio Northern, 3-1. The loss snapped Heidelberg's 17-match conference winning streak, which dated back to the 2014 season. ONU won 25-19, 17-25, 25-20, 25-23.
With the loss, Heidelberg dropped to 13-7 overall, 4-1 in the Ohio Athletic Conference. The Polar Bears improved to 19-3, 4-0 in the conference.
Ohio Northern never trailed in the first set and took control with a six-point run late to take a 24-15 lead. Despite a four-point run that prompted an ONU timeout, the Polar Bears took the set, 25-19. The loss snapped a string of 12 straight OAC set wins for the Student Princes.
Heidelberg bolted out of the gate in the second set, sprinting to an 8-2 lead. Ohio Northern would work their way back in, eventually tying the set at 14. Three straight points, including two kills by Mariah Sullivan gave HU some breathing room. Up 19-16, Morgan Strenk capped a zany point that had Polar Bears and Student Princes diving across the parquet floor with a soft kill in between the ONU defense. The kill came as part of a set-clinching 7-1 run that featured two Strenk service aces.
The Student Princes nursed a small lead in the first half of the third set until a 5-0 run gave ONU a 15-12 cushion. The hole proved to be one from which the Student Princes could not climb out.
The fourth set appeared to be a whitewashing in the early going, as ONU got out to a 5-0 start and lead by as many as eight. Down 15-7, a 10-3 rally by Heidelberg knotted the game at 18. Two HU attack errors in the final five points dashed the hopes of the visitors as the host Polar Bears emerged with the crucial win.
Karlie DiRuzza notched 56 assists on the evening.
The Student Princes jump out of OAC play over the weekend. Instead, they head to Hope College for four games.