Strenk leads volleyball to split

(Doug Sampson / Heidelberg Athletics File)
(Doug Sampson / Heidelberg Athletics File)

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio -- The Heidelberg University volleyball team split a pair of games on Friday at the Wittenberg Fall Classic. HU defeated Clarkson University, 3-1, in the first match before falling to No. 12 Washington (Mo.) in the second match, 3-0.

GAME ONE: Heidelberg 3   Clarkson 1

The two teams battled during a back-and-forth opening set. With the score knotted at 23, a kill from sophomore Taylor Valentine put the Student Princes up one. A Clarkson attack error gave HU the win in the first set.

The Golden Knights stormed back to take the second set by a score of 25-19. Clarkson built its lead to as many as eight points before evening the match at one set apiece.

Apparent the loss lit a fire in the Berg, HU won the third set by a commanding 25-11 score. Heidelberg broke out with a 6-0 start and did not relinquish the lead for the remainder of the set.

Trying to avoid a fifth set, the Berg took advantage of a three-point swing late in the fourth set. A kill from Anna McNabb coupled with two Golden Knight attack errors put the Berg ahead 23-20. Mya Morris and Rachel Stroski closed out the HU victory with kills for the final two points.

Junior Morgan Strenk led the Berg in game one with 16 kills. Stroski added 13 kills and Laura Schrag chipped in with eight kills, good for a .417 attacking clip.

Five Student Princes ended the match with double-digit digs -- Rachel Raimondo (26), Sydney Moore (22), Taylor Arbogast (14), McNabb (12), and Strenk (11).

McNabb, a sophomore, set a new career-high with 46 assists.

GAME TWO:  No. 12 Washington (Mo.) 3   Heidelberg 0

Heidelberg held onto a 15-10 lead in the first set, but could not fend off the Bears. WashU eventually tied the score at 18, and took a two point lead thanks to two service aces from Kirby Knapp. Using Heidelberg errors to their advantage, the Bears won the first set, 25-23.

WashU pushed its lead to as many as nine points in the second set. Trailing 21-13, the Student Princes tried to rally back, cutting the score to 21-17. The rally was keyed by three service aces off the hand of Raimondo. Heidelberg cut the deficit to 24-23, but he comeback fell short with the Bears taking the set, 25-23.

In the final set, the Tricolor never let the Bears take a big lead. A Washington attack error tied the score at 22 with the Student Princes looking to extend the match. After a WashU timeout, the Bears regrouped and scored three straight points to take the third set, 25-22.

Strenk led the attack once again, finishing with 14 kills. Schrag had another outstanding performance, adding seven kills for a .636 attack percentage in the match.

The Student Princes recorded 13 service aces in the match by seven different players. It was the most in a match this season and the most since the 2016 squad tallied 14 against Haverford.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

The Berg falls to 5-6 this season with the split.

Strenk ended the day with 30 total kills. Amandalin Hensley picked up her first collegiate assists, contributing seven in the WashU match.

Washington and Heidelberg are familiar foes. The Bears broke the hearts of the Student Princes twice last season in five-set matches, including in the NCAA Tournament.

Heidelberg will stay in Springfield for a match tomorrow afternoon to close out the Wittenberg Fall Classic. HU will match up with Millikin University at 2 p.m.