By Tim Glon
WESTERVILLE — No. 3 Wittenberg rode the momentum of a tight Set 1 win to a 27-25, 25-14, 25-10 victory over No. 20-ranked Ohio Northern in the Regional Finals of the NCAA Div. III Volleyball Tournament on Sunday afternoon at the Rike Center.
The Polar Bears end their season at 29-6 overall, while the Tigers improve to 24-2.
WU advances to the NCAA III Championships at Grand Rapids, Mich., and will play a yet to be determined opponent in the Quarterfinals on Thursday.
Jordan had nine kills and Huppert added six kills for ONU.
Aubrey Cox had 10 kills to lead Wittenberg.
In the opening set, ONU raced to leads of 7-3 and 12-7, but the Tigers battled back to tie the match at 15-all.
A kill by Potters gave Ohio Northern a 24-23 lead. WU scored twice to take a 25-24 lead, but Jordan drilled her eighth kill of the set to tie it at 25-all. A pair of Tiger kills would give Wittenberg the first set 27-25.
Wittenberg used that momentum to take a quick 6-0 lead in Set 2. That lead grew to 14-3, but the Polar Bears battled back to within 18-12 and forced a WU timeout.
The Tigers responded and went on to a 25-14 victory and a 2-0 set lead.
In the third set, Wittenberg used a 10-0 run to break a 4-4 tie and grab a 14-4 lead. Northern got within 15-9, but the Tigers were just too much in the 25-10 match-clinching set.
"Today's match was dictated in the first set," ONU head coach Kate Witte said. "We had chances to win the first set, but made some unforced errors. Once Wittenberg won the first set, they dictated the match the rest of the way. Credit to Wittenberg they are a very talented team that has a chance to win the national title. We played young today.
"We came into the match with great enthusiasm and played hard throughout. But we played young today. I'm very proud of what out young team accomplished this season, but obviously we are disappointed with the way it ended."
ONU hit .074 for the match with 27 kills and 20 errors, while Wittenberg hit .288 with 44 kills and 14 errors.
Northern is now 37-30 all-time in its 30 NCAA III Tournament appearances and has advanced three rounds for the 11th time in school history.