By Scott Beaton
ADA — The No. 10-ranked Ohio Northern volleyball earned at least a share of its 26th total and fourth consecutive OAC regular-season championship after defeating Mount Union 25-20, 25-15, 25-15 on Friday night at the ONU Sports Center.
29th-year head coach Kate Witte tallied her 19th OAC regular-season title in her final regular-season match. Ohio Northern honored Witte after the match as she has announced her retirement following the 2019 season.
Prior to the match, ONU (23-5 overall, 8-1 OAC) also paid tribute to seniors Chelsea Huppert (Bremen, Ind.), Kristin Langston (Versailles), McKenna Hostetler (Plain City/Alder), McKenna Jordan (Toldeo/St. Ursula), and Sydney Bapst (Grove City).
The seniors (101-23 overall, 33-3 OAC regular season) snapped a seven-year OAC regular-season title drought, winning four straight.
Huppert led the way with 11 kills on 23 swings, while sophomore Hannah Irmer (Indianapolis, Ind./Roncalli) led the backline with 19 digs.
The Polar Bears opened the first set on a 7-2 run. The Purple Raiders (20-9 overall, 5-4 OAC) drew within 16-13, but ONU pulled away to win 25-20.
Mount Union started the second set with a 4-2 advantage before Ohio Northern responded, leading 16-11 en route to a 25-15 set win.
The third set was controlled by ONU throughout, winning 25-15.
The Polar Bears boasted a hitting percentage of .256 with 42 kills, 10 errors, and 125 swings, while the Purple Raiders recorded a hitting percentage of .111 with 35 kills, 20 errors, and 135 total attacks.
Northern has clinched the No. 1 seed and home-court advantage in next week's OAC Tournament.
ONU will host the No. 8 seed on Tuesday at 7 p.m. inside the ONU Sports Center. The team awaits Saturday's results for its opponent.