Nov. 11 – BETHANY, W. Va. – The Bethany College volleyball team defeated DeSales University, 3-1, in the Eastern College Athletic Conference DIII South Regional Quarterfinals on Wednesday evening. With the victory, the Bison earn a trip to the ECAC semifinals for the sixth consecutive year.
The Bison trailed early as the Bulldogs took a quick, 5-2, lead in the opening set. Both teams then exchanged points until Bethany took a timeout down three, 8-5. DeSales maintained a slight advantage after a kill from Gabby Savite’ made it a 16-12 contest. Another kill from Savite’ then made it 20-13 as the Bison took another timeout to try to weather the storm.
Dylana McKenzie (Hopewell, Ohio/West Muskingum) had a block followed by a thundering kill to make it a four-point game. The Bulldogs managed to hold on to their lead as they ultimately took game one, 25-21. Arielle Sanders (Maple Heights, Ohio/Maple Heights) led the Bison with four kills, while Dylana McKenzie and Dakota McKenzie (Hopewell, Ohio/West Muskingum) added three each.
The Bison fought back in the second set to knot the game at 1-1. The teams traded points early, knotted at 7-7 through the first 14 points of the game. From there, however, the Bison would take complete control of the set, outscoring the Bulldogs 9-1 to take a 16-8 lead. Alexis Castro (Lorain, Ohio/Lorain) and McKenzie Lauber (Mansfield, Ohio/Madison) each totaled two kills in the run. Bethany would extend its lead to as many as nine (20-11) on a service ace by Allie Powell (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence Central) as the Bison cruised to a 25-17 win.
Game three once again started close before the Bison pulled away with a large run. The Green & White never trailed in the set, opening the game on a 4-0 run on kills from Castro and Lauber.
Holding on to a three-point advantage (10-7), Bethany dominated the remainder of the set, outscoring DeSales 15-2 to put a stranglehold on the match. Dakota McKenzie tallied four of the kills, including the final two of the set, giving her six overall in the swing game.
In game four, Bethany showed its resiliency, falling behind 8-3 early following three attack errors. A timeout called by head coach Courtney Kline righted the ship, as the Green & White came out of the timeout with a 7-2 run to knot the game at 10-10.
Bethany would take the lead for good thanks to Lauber, who served three-consecutive aces during a four-point run to give the Bison a 14-11 lead; a lead which they would not relinquish.
Two more service aces along the way helped push the Bison to their victory. The first came from Reilly Parker (Irwin, Pa./Norwin) while the second came from senior Julia Mouch (Toledo, Ohio/Sylvania Southview), who notched match point with the ace, giving Bethany the 25-20 win, and the match, 3-1.
The Bison defense held the Bulldogs to a .094 hitting percentage throughout the match. Sanders led the Bison with 6.0 blocks (five solo and one assist). Parker had 22 digs while Mouch recorded 16. The Green & White collected 65 digs and 8.0 blocks in the match.
Dakota McKenzie led the Bison offense with 11 kills. Castro added 10 kills, while Sanders and Dylana McKenzie totaled nine, each. Lauber played a solid all-around game, posting 23 assists to go along with five kills and nine digs.
With the victory, the Bison secured their 30th-win of the season, the fourth time in the last five seasons in which the program has been able to accomplish the feat.
The win also pushed the Bison into the ECAC DIII South Regional Semifinals, where they will take on the top overall seed and host Tartans of Carnegie Mellon University. The Tartans earned their spot in the semifinals thanks to a 3-1 win over Marymount on Wednesday.
The other semifinal will pit #2 Swarthmore against #3 Lebanon Valley, who both captured win in opening round games. The ECAC semifinals are slated to begin at 11 a.m. However, the order of games has yet to be determined at this time.