NEW CONCORD -- In one of the more closely contested regular seasons in the history of volleyball in the Ohio Athletic Conference, Heidelberg University enters the conference tournament as the No. 5 seed after ending the OAC campaign with a 3-2 loss at Muskingum. The razor-thin loss to the Muskies -- 29-27, 25-23, 24-26, 22-25, 15-13 -- was followed by a season-ending non-conference sweep of Hiram College -- 25-22, 25-17, 25-22.
Heidelberg (20-9, 5-4 OAC) will travel to No. 4 Baldwin Wallace (26-4, 6-3 OAC) on Tuesday for the OAC Quarterfinals.
After dropping the first two sets by, quite literally, the narrowest of margins, Heidelberg won the third and the fourth. Ahead 8-5 in the decisive fifth set, Heidelberg allowed the Muskies (23-5, 7-2) to take a lead with a 6-0 run. Heidelberg clawed back to within one at 13-12, but the hosts again eked out a two-point win.
In the match, both teams hit their best in the first set before defensive adjustments lowered the percentages. HU hit .279 in the first, but .168 overall for the match. Muskingum swung .321 in the opener, but .145 for the match.
Rather than allowing the effects of the gut-wrenching loss to Muskingum linger into the Hiram match, Heidelberg was strong in the sweep.
Defensively, libero Taylor Arbogast picked up 67 digs. McNabb and Valentine each had 30.
In the win over Hiram, Sydney Moore surpassed the 1,000 dig milestone.
At the net, Schrag had five blocks, while Crusey and Amy Feczer added four.
Maddie Szawranskyj's power serves yielded five aces on the afternoon.
Ohio Northern and Otterbein shared the OAC title, but ONU claimed the No. 1 seed in the eight-team, single-elimination tournament. Muskingum took the No. 3 seed.
OAC Tournament ticket prices will be in effect: $8 for adults, $6 for seniors (62) and $3 for non-OAC students. OAC lifetime passes will be honored, OAC students are admitted free of charge with their ID, but 2018-19 OAC passes are not valid for the duration of the tournament.