By Tim Glon
BEREA — The No. 25-ranked Ohio Northern volleyball team clinched at least a share of its 23rd Ohio Athletic Conference Regular Season title with a 25-17, 25-17, 25-21 victory at Baldwin Wallace on Tuesday evening at Ursprung Gymnasium.
The Polar Bears (23-3 overall, 8-0 OAC) extend their winning streak to 15 matches and clinch the No. 1 seed and home court advantage in next week's OAC Tournament.
Senior Ashley Borchers (Russia), junior Haley Potters (Wheelersburg/South Webster) and freshman Chelsea Huppert (Bremen, Ind.) each had eight kills. Borchers nearly had a triple-double with eight kills, 39 assists and 10 digs.
The Yellow Jackets (22-5, 4-4) were led by Nikolette Scruggs with 10 kills.
Northern was consistent throughout the match, hitting .239 with 17 kills in Set 1, .275 with 16 kills in Set 2 and .283 with 19 kills in Set 3 to finish with a .266 hitting percentage and 52 kills.
The ONU defense limited BW to only 29 kills and an .081 hitting percentage.
Ohio Northern has now won or shared the OAC Regular Season title 23 times in the 33 years that the league has been sponsoring the sport.
Under 26-year head coach Kate Witte, the Polar Bears have won 16 OAC Regular Season titles, including nine in a row from 2000-08, and are 660-220 overall for a winning percentage of .750.
Northern was in control from the onset Tuesday night, racing to a 5-0 lead sparked by kills from Potters and Fecko.
BW went on a 5-0 run to pull within 21-18, but kills from Huppert and senior Claire Heitkamp (Maria Stein/Marion Local) keyed a 3-0 run to end the set 25-18.
In set two, the Polar Bears rattled off the last nine points to turn a tight 16-15 score into a 25-15 win.
Like Set 1, Ohio Northern did not trail in Set 3, but it was close throughout. Two kills from Jordan and a kill from Potters capped a 4-0 run to end the set 25-21.
The Polar Bears will look to win the OAC Regular Season title outright and celebrate Senior Day on Saturday with a 1 pm match against Marietta.