Panthers Force Fifth Set, Fall to Hillsdale in Home Opener

Panthers Force Fifth Set, Fall to Hillsdale in Home Opener

COLUMBUS, Ohio – In its home opener, Ohio Dominican's volleyball team pushed visiting Hillsdale to five sets but fell 3-2 (18-25, 25-22, 22-25, 25-20, 6-15) in GLIAC action from Alumni Hall on Friday night.

With the setback, the Panthers fell to 6-5 (1-2 GLIAC), while the Chargers improved to 4-7 (1-2).

Both teams tallied 63 kills in the match, but ODU committed 31 hitting errors to 18 for Hillsdale and could not recover from a 6-0 deficit in the decisive fifth set.

Sophomore Lauren Kraemer (Kettering, Ohio) and freshman Jackie Oestreich (Brighton, Mich.) each tied for a match-high 17 kills, with Oestreich's tally representing a season-high. Freshman Taylor Foster (Ida, Mich.) chipped in with a season-best 11 kills and junior Brianna Reder (Maineville, Ohio) added nine to lead the ODU offense.

Sophomore Kelsey Fortney (Lorain, Ohio) finished with a season-best 28 assists, and freshman Heidi Hess (Dayton, Ohio) added a season-high 18 assists as well. Freshman Megan Hendershot (Galloway, Ohio) paced the ODU defense with 30 digs, which also represented a season-high.

ODU struggled offensively in the first set, committing nine hitting errors as Hillsdale broke free from a 15-13 score with five unanswered points to go in front, 20-13.

But the Panthers recovered nicely in the second, finishing with an astonishing 20 kills on 38 swings for a .421 hitting percentage. The set featured 11 ties and a pair of lead changes, with ODU pulling in front for good at 16-15 after a Charger service errors. Fortney followed with an ace and Oestreich had consecutive kills to give ODU a 19-15 cushion, and the Panthers held off several late runs, sealing the set with a kill from junior Lauren Rindler (Rossburg, Ohio).

ODU fell behind by scores of 8-3 and 11-4 in third, but surged back to cut the deficit to 18-17 on a kill by Foster. The Panthers then knotted the set at 21 on a wacky sequence. The ball hung up in the basketball rim above ODU's end, clanging like a Plinko chip in the Price is Right, before Rindler – with her back to the net – played it back across to Hillsdale's side, where it landed just inches inside the end line for a Panther point.

However, Hillsdale answered with two straight points, then held on to take the set at 25-22 and build a 2-1 lead in the match.

The Panthers didn't go quietly, though. Leading 13-12 in the fourth, ODU rattled off four straight points, with Oestreich chipping in two kills and combining with Reder on a block to extend the lead to 17-12. Hillsdale would not get any closer than four the remainder of the set as ODU hit .433 in the frame.

However, Hillsdale would surge out to the quick lead in the fifth, registering 10 kills in the set while hitting .529.

The Panthers conclude the weekend at home with a 5 p.m. matchup against Northwood Saturday in Alumni Hall.

Contact: Scott Miles

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