ADA, Ohio -- The Heidelberg University volleyball team dropped the Ohio Athletic Conference championship match to Ohio Northern University in five sets, 20-25, 20-25, 25-18, 25-23, 9-15. It was the second straight season the Tricolor advanced to the championship match.
Heidelberg falls to 23-9 while ONU improves to 27-3.
By winning the OAC regular season title and advancing to the championship match, Ohio Northern has clinched the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Berg got off to a slow start in the first set, trailing for most of the set. Trailing 17-14, a kill from Sarah Parker and three straight kills from senior Janessa Scott gave HU a 18-17 advantage. The four-point swing forced ONU to call timeout, where they went on an 8-2 run, taking the set 25-20.
ONU pulled ahead 10-4 in the second set and never looked back. Despite stringing together consecutive points, the Polar Bears stopped any momentum the Berg attempted to find.
The Student Princes would not go down without a battle. Trailing 15-12, the Tricolor used a big swing to pull ahead 18-15. In that stretch, Parker tallied two kills and Mariah Sullivan recorded a service ace. Heidelberg used the momentum and finished the set on a 7-3 run. A kill from Scott sealed HU's 25-18 third set win.
HU put together rally after rally to force a decisive fifth set. The Berg trailed by as many as six points in the set. Trailing 23-22, HU scored three straight to take the fourth set. Parker registered five kills in the set while Laura Schrag picked up four blocks.
The Polar Bears had the momentum for most of the fifth set. The Berg attacked at a .059 clip in the final set. ONU controlled the tempo, shutting down any HU momentum, winning the final set 15-9.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Parker paced the Student Princes with 18 kills. Sullivan chipped in 13 kills while Scott added 11. Karlie DiRuzza recorded 46 assists in the match.
Rachel Raimondo was phenomenal in the back row, recording 31 digs. Mills picked up 20 digs in the match.
The Student Princes used three service aces to lead them to the set three win. Sullivan, Mills, and Taylor Arbogast all recorded aces in the set.
The All-OAC teams and special awards will be announced on Monday.
Heidelberg will await the selection of the field for the 2016 NCAA Division III Tournament, which will be decided on Monday at 12:30 p.m.