By Tim Glon
ADA — Senior All-American Chelsea Huppert (Bremen, Ind.) had 12 kills and five blocks and senior Sydney Bapst (Grove City) had 11 kills to lead No. 10-ranked Ohio Northern in a 26-24, 22-25, 25-12, 22-25, 15-13 loss to Otterbein on Tuesday night at the ONU Sports Center.
The Polar Bears (22-5 overall, 7-1 OAC) also got nine kills and five blocks from freshman Madison Kern (Loveland/Mount Notre Dame).
The Cardinals (22-5, 6-2) were led by Dasha Bruyako with a career-high 22 kills, Emily Shuk with 18 kills, Amber Greeley with 17 kills and Tate Eppard with 10 kills and 10 blocks.
Despite the loss, ONU clinched a top-3 seed and at least one home match next week's OAC Tournament.
The Polar Bears can still win a share of the OAC Regular Season crown and be the No. 1 seed in the OAC Tournament with a victory in their regular season finale on Friday at home against Mount Union.
Otterbein's offense proved to be the difference in the match as the Cardinals had 78 kills to just 55 for the Polar Bears.
OU had 17 kills in the opening set and rallied from a late 20-18 deficit to win 26-24.
The Cardinals took a quick 10-3 lead in Set 2, but the Polar Bears went on a 16-6 run to grab a 19-16 advantage. A kill by Junior Madi Ellis (Delphos/Saint John's) gave ONU a 25-22 win and evened the match at one set apiece.
Otterbein raced to another big lead in set three, going up 9-3. The lead grew to 21-8 before OU closed it out 25-12.
In Set 4, Otterbein had an impressive 20 kills, but ONU went on a 4-0 run to grab a 13-10 and did not trail again in the 25-22 victory.
The Polar Bears led 10-8 in the fifth and deciding set, but the Cardinals went on a 4-0 run to take a 12-10 lead. The score was tied at 13-all when back-to-back kills by Greeley ended the match.
Ohio Northern hit .171 for the match with 55 kills and 22 errors on 193 attacks. Otterbein hit .243 with 78 kills and 28 errors on 206 attempts.
The Polar Bears will wrap up their regular season on Friday when they host Mount Union at 7 pm at the ONU Sports Center on Senior Night.