By Caleb Scott
ADA — Senior Haley Potters (Wheelersburg/South Webster) set the tone offensively and defensively as the No. 21-ranked Ohio Northern volleyball team swept Muskingum on Saturday afternoon at the ONU Sports Center.
The Polar Bears improve to 23-4 overall and 6-1 in the Ohio Athletic Conference to stay in the hunt for a conference title, while the Muskies fall to 17-5, 4-3.
Northern recognized seniors Megan Nieszala (Lambertville, Mich./St. Marys Catholic Central), Brenna Dee (McComb) and Potters prior to the contest for their contributions to the ONU volleyball program.
Potters led Northern offensively with a game-high 12 kills, while hitting a blistering .455.
The senior also led the way defensively, recording a game-best six blocks in the victory.
Four Polar Bears posted double-digit digs as sophomore Kristin Langston (Versailles) led the way with 15 digs, Nieszala added 11 digs, and sophomore Madison Broering (Saint Henry) and freshman Katie Wade (Battle Creek, Mich./Harper Creek) chipped in 10 digs each.
Wade recorded a game-high 33 assists to complete the double-double and now owns the second-best mark for assists in a single season by a freshman in ONU history.
Northern would force a MU timeout after back-to-back-back Musky miscues and a kill from sophomore Chelsea Huppert (Bremen, Ind.) allowed Northern to jump out to a 6-1 lead in the first set,.
A kill from Potters would grow the ONU lead to 12-3 before Muskingum chipped away to pull within 14-11.
The Polar Bear defense would stand strong from there as ONU went on to claim the set 25-17.
After a back-and-forth battle early in the second set, Northern broke a 4-4 tie with a quick 5-0 run to force a Musky timeout.
Muskingum was able to close the gap to 12-6, before the Polar Bears scored 13 of the next 16 points to claim the set two victory.
In the final set, Northern was able to again jump out to a quick 5-1 lead before it saw Muskingum gain control of the set and take an 18-15 lead late.
Four unanswered points allowed ONU to regain control of the contest and take a 19-18 lead.
After MU tied the set at 19-all, Northern used a 6-2 run capped by a kill from Huppert to seal the victory.
The Polar Bears hit .235 as a team during the match.
ONU returns to the court on Tuesday evening at 7 pm as it welcomes Baldwin Wallace to the ONU Sports Center for its regular season home finale.