ALLIANCE, Ohio -- The Mount Union women's volleyball team defeated Ohio Athletic Conference foe Baldwin Wallace (25-4, 5-3 OAC) 3-1 Tuesday night from the McPhearson Academic and Athletic Complex.
Four Purple Raiders (22-4, 5-3 OAC) logged double digit kills to fuel the offense against the Yellow Jackets. Leading the way was sophomore outside hitter Madelin DiBease (Perry/Perry) with 15. Just behind her was freshman outside hitter Kirsten Powell (Strongsville) with 14, followed by junior middle hitter Marlee Peck (Homeworth/Marlington) with 13 and freshman right side Maria Ellesin's (Alliance/Marlington) 10.
Setting the team up for success was junior setter Carly Stepic (Cleveland/Holy Name) with 46 assists.
On defense, four additional players tabbed double figure digs, with Stepic atop of the group with a career-high of 20. Senior libero Allison Baird (North Royalton) was next in line with 19, followed by DiBease's 18 and junior defensive specialist Megan Donegan (Dublin/Dublin Coffman) with 11. At the net, senior middle blocker Kyleigh Jackson (Galloway/Westland) led the pack with a total of six.
Baldwin Wallace was led by Sam Pruett's 12 kills and Alicia Lortcher's 11.
To start the match, Mount Union and Baldwin Wallace would trade leads back and forth without letting the other get ahead by more than three points. Mount Union would take the first go ahead run at 6-3 before Baldwin Wallace caught up to tie the match on four separate occasions. The Raiders would get their largest lead of five at 24-19 after a pair of kills from Jackson. A 4-0 run looked to be the start of a BW comeback, cutting Mount Union's lead to 24-23 but a forceful attack by Powell would give her a kill and the win at 25-23.
Keeping things tight in the second set, the two went point for point until Mount Union had the advantage at 8-4. BW responded with a series of runs to come storming back and take their largest lead at 23-16. The Raiders served up five unanswered points to cut the deficit to 23-21 but it would not be enough to hold off BW's hitters as they would steal the second set, 25-21.
Third set, BW opened with a 4-1 advantage. Ellesin and Peck, combining for blocks and kills, ignited at 7-0 run and give the Raiders an 8-4 lead. With BW chipping away, Mount Union's lead was shortened to three, then one at 16-15. After a timeout by the Jackets, a chain of kills from Jackson and Powell pieced together a 10-2 run, in favor of the Raiders, and would close out the third set at 25-18.
Final set, Mount Union came out strong with a commanding 6-0 lead until it was followed by seven straight points for BW, putting them behind 7-6. Swapping short-winded rallies, BW would not allow Mount Union to get ahead by more than three points. BW would regain the lead at 20-18 and look to make a break for the win. A BW error and three straight kills for the Raiders put Mount Union back on top at 22-20 and force a BW timeout. Squeezing one more point at 22-21, BW would ultimately go down in four with a final set score of 25-21.
With the win, the Raiders move to 5-3 in conference play and will next host No. 22 Ohio Northern on Saturday, October 27 at 1:00 p.m. for Senior Day before heading to OAC Tournament action.