TIFFIN, Ohio – No. 3 seed Mount Union knocked off No. 2 seed Otterbein, 3-1, in the semifinals of the Ohio Athletic Conference Volleyball Tournament Friday in Tiffin, Ohio.
The Purple Raiders (23-7) are in the finals for just the second time in school history and first time since 1999.
Mount Union plays top-seeded and host Heidelberg, a 3-0 winner over No. 4 seed Baldwin-Wallace, in Saturday's final at 2 pm.
By conference rule, regular season champion Heidelberg claimed the OAC's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by advancing to the title match regardless of finals result.
Both Otterbein (26-5) and Mount Union entered the match ranked in the NCAA Great Lakes Region rankings so the Raiders win can only improve its chances of getting one of 20 national at-large bids if they do not get the automatic bid.
The first two sets were close as no more than four points separated the teams as Mount Union pulled out 28-26 and 25-21 victories.
The third set was also close until Otterbein ended the match on an 8-0 surge to win 25-17.
The fourth set was also tight but the Raiders rallied from a 21-20 deficit to score five of the final six points to take the match. Freshman Nicole Snyder (Mentor/Lake Catholic) served out the run highlighted by two aces. They were two of only five aces the Raiders had for the match.
Sophomore Taylor Webb (Geneva/Geneva) led Mount Union with 14 kills, senior Julie Radigan (Olmsted Falls/Olmsted Falls) had 42 assists while junior Kristen Gromes (Navarre/Fairless) led the defense with 20 digs.
Ally Nagle had a match-high 18 kills, Tabatha Piper had 41 assists and Lindsey Russell had 20 digs to lead Otterbein.
Mount Union def. Otterbein 28-26,25-21,17-25,25-22
Mount Union (23-7 (7-2 OAC)) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Taylor Webb 14-0-2;
Nicole Snyder 11-2-1; Deanna Glass 11-1-4; Julie Radigan 7-0-2;
Melanie Patterson 6-0-0; Maya Brown 4-0-2; Lauren Mastroine 1-0-0;
Riley Galant 0-2-0; Totals 54-5-8.0. (Assists) - Julie Radigan 42.
(Dig leaders) - Kristen Gromes 20; Lauren Mastroine 13; Allison Insana
10; Julie Radigan 8
Otterbein (26-5 (8-1 OAC)) (Kills-aces-blocks) - Ally Nagle 18-0-1;
Kristen Bennett 13-0-3; Liz Palmer 8-0-6; Annie Juenger 8-3-0; Tabatha
Piper 4-0-0; Kendel Kellogg 3-0-4; Emily Caldwell 1-0-0; Renee Willke
0-1-0; Lindsey Russell 0-2-0; Totals 55-6-7.0. (Assists) - Tabatha
Piper 41. (Dig leaders) - Lindsey Russell 20; Renee Willke 12; Emily
Caldwell 11; Annie Juenger 11; Tabatha Piper 10
Site: Tiffin, Ohio (Seiberling Gymnasium)
Date: 11/4/11 Attend: 213 Time: 1:41
Referees: Bob Baxter, Al Herbert, Masin, Allison
#3 Mount Union advances to 2011 OAC Finals.
Mount Union will face winner between #4 Baldwin-Wallace and #1 Heidelberg.