Panthers Can't Hold Off Tiffin, Fall 3-2

Caitlin Kusan (courtesy West Liberty State)
Caitlin Kusan (courtesy West Liberty State)

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio Dominican's volleyball team couldn't muster enough offense to hold off Tiffin in last two sets, falling 3-2 (23-25, 25-19, 25-15, 18-25, 11-15) in a GLIAC South Division clash Friday night in Alumni Hall.

ODU fell to 9-5 (3-5 GLIAC) with the setback, while the Dragons improved to 3-10 (3-5 GLIAC).

After taking the second and third sets, the Panthers hit just .091 in the fourth set and .059 in the fifth set. ODU was also hurt by committing 14 service errors.

The Panthers had a chance to take control of the match in the first set, using a 6-1 run to break open a tied set and take an 18-13 lead. Senior Rachel Billing (Anna, Ohio) had two kills and freshman Kelsey Snyder (Macomb, Mich.) registered an ace to help fuel the surge. Tiffin, though, bounced right back with seven straight points to jump back in front at 20-18. Sophomore Tara Winner (Versailles, Ohio) tallied back-to-back kills to knot the set at 20, and a Dragon attack error put ODU back in front at 23-22. However, TU scored the final three points to claim the set, 25-23.

ODU bounced back with strong showings in both the second and third sets. The Panthers roared to a 9-3 lead in the second set, as freshman Caitlin Kusan (Westerville, Ohio) ripped off three kills and Billing tallied two to put ODU on top. The Dragons drew as close as 12-10 but the Panthers extended their lead back out and maintained a three to six point cushion for the remainder of the set as Kusan sealed it with a kill, the 17th of the set for ODU, which hit .424 as a team in the second. Kusan and Winner both had five kills in the set and Billing registered four.

The Panthers had an even stronger showing in the third set, scoring 10 of the first 12 points and eventually building a 14 point lead. ODU's defense stifled Tiffin, holding the Dragons to an .028 attack percentage while hitting .242 themselves. Billing again was strong with four kills and Winner had three in just six swings for the Panthers.

The tide turned in the fourth set, though, as there were nine ties and a pair of lead changes. ODU tied the set at 10 after a termination by Winner, but Tiffin scored the next five points and nine of the next 11 to take a 19-12 advantage. The Dragons blocked four shots and had 27 digs as ODU managed just 10 kills with six errors in 44 attempts.

Tiffin jumped to a 4-0 advantage in the fifth set, but the Panthers scored the next three on a Bailey Barker (Muncie, Ind.) kill and a pair of Dragon errors. After Tiffin scored the next two, ODU recovered and tallied three of the next four points, making cutting the deficit to 7-6 on a block by Winner and sophomore Emily Post (St. Henry, Ohio). Winner's kill kept the Panthers down by a point at 9-8, but Tiffin scored five of the next six points to take a 14-9 lead and closed it on a kill at 15-11.

Billing led ODU with 17 kills and 19 digs, recording her seventh double-double of the campaign, and Winner had 15 kills and three blocks while hitting .273. Kusan hit a team-high .310, registering 13 kills in 29 attempts.

Snyder had a season-high 49 assists to go along with 10 digs, and senior libero Stacy Rogg (Cincinnati, Ohio) had 15 digs as well.

Ohio Dominican returns to action at 6 p.m. Tuesday in a non-conference match at Alderson-Broaddus.

Contact: Scott Miles

Panthers Power Past Storm, 3-1
September 21, 2011 Panthers Power Past Storm, 3-1