By Scott Beaton
ADA — The No. 23-ranked Ohio Northern volleyball team topped Transylvania (Ky.) in three close sets after falling to No. 6-ranked Wittenberg in five sets to complete the 41st ONU Invitational at the ONU Sports Center on Saturday afternoon.
In the match against Transylvania, the Polar Bears (2-2) were led by senior All-American Chelsea Huppert's (Bremen, Ind.) 12 kills.
Defensively, senior McKenna Hostetler (Plain City/Alder) tallied 27 digs, freshman Hannah Hall recorded 18 digs, and junior Hope Williamson (Noblesville, Ind./Heritage Christian) had five total blocks.
Sophomore setter Kiki Carle (Cincinnati/Mother of Mercy) provided 33 assists and a career-high 10 digs.
Transylvania led 19-15 in the first set, but the Polar Bears rattled off six straights points to take a 21-19 advantage.
From there, TU got within a point on four occasions. A kill by Huppert ended the set at 25-23.
The second set featured nine lead changes and 17 ties.
The Pioneers led by as many as three at 17-14. Northern had a five-point spurt to gain a 19-17 edge, capped by an ace by Hall.
TU responded with back-to-back points. ONU then fended off three TU set-points before tying the set at 29-29.
Huppert clinched the second set at 32-30 with back-to-back kills on feeds from Carle.
At 13-13 in the third set, Bapst provided a kill and sophomore Ava Lam (Carmel, Ind.) fired back-to-back aces to guide ONU to a 16-13 lead it would not relinquish.
Bapst took the final swing of the match, recording a kill to end the set at 25-22.
The Polar Bears hit .136 on 42 kills, 162 total attacks, and 20 errors while the Pioneers hit .135 on 47 kills, 156 total attacks, and 26 errors.
Against Wittenberg (2-1), Huppert led the way with 15 kills and six total blocks. Freshman Madison Kern (Loveland/Mount Notre Dame) hit .500 with 10 kills.
Hostetler registered 22 digs and Hall chipped in 11 digs.
The Tigers were led by 15 kills from Paige Kucinic and 14 kills by Katie Hiestand.
Northern was edged in the first set 26-24.
ONU rolled to victory in the second set 25-15 and won the third set 25-22.
Wittenberg pulled away in the fourth set to win 25-15.
The fifth set was controlled early by the Tigers. Northern battled to within 8-7 before WU completed a 15-10 set victory, winning the match.
ONU hit .248 with 55 kills and 17 errors on 153 swings. WU hit .236 with 62 kills and 23 on 165 swings.
Ohio Northern returns to the court with the Bluffton Spiketacular on Sept. 6 and 7. The Polar Bears open with Geneva (Pa.) on Saturday at 5:00 p.m.