Women's Volleyball: Raiders Fall to #22 Ohio Northern in Five Set Thriller on Senior Day

Allison Baird, Kyleigh Jackson, Madison Stacho and Mary Beth Keck
Allison Baird, Kyleigh Jackson, Madison Stacho and Mary Beth Keck

ALLIANCE, Ohio -- The Mount Union women's volleyball team fell to No. 22 Ohio Northern (19-7, 8-1 OAC) in five sets Saturday afternoon on Senior Day.

The Purple Raiders (22-5, 5-4 OAC) were led by sophomore outsider hitter Madelin DiBease (Perry/Perry) as she posted her sixth double-double of the season with 20 kills and 20 digs. Senior middle blocker Kyleigh Jackson (Galloway/Westland), junior middle hitter Marlee Peck (Homeworth/Marlington) and freshman outside hitter Kirsten Powell (Strongsville/Strongsville) all recorded double-digit kills as well with 13, 12 and 12, respectively.

Setting a career-high was junior setter Carly Stepic (Cleveland/Holy Name) as she dished out 60 assists.

Defensively, senior libero Allison Baird (North Royalton/North Royalton) tabbed a season-best of 33 digs to lead the team. DiBease chipped in 20 of her own and Stepic also made it into double figures with 14. Peck was a force at the net, reaching a career-high of nine blocks.

Ohio Northern was led by McKenna Jordan's 20 kills.

Mount Union opened the first set with a 10-5 lead after being knotted up at 5-5. The Raiders were able to hold their lead until back-to-back runs by the Polar Bears would make it tied once again, 19-19. Ohio Northern took their first lead since the opening serve at 20-19 but a combination of ONU errors and kills by DiBease would give Mount Union the first win at 25-23.

The second set would not favor the Raiders as they trailed by as much as nine points. ONU's largest lead at 20-11 was cut to 23-20 as a results of a number of blocks by Peck. However, the Mount Union was unable to hold on as ONU took the second set 25-21.

A service error by ONU would get the third set going for Mount Union before gaining their largest lead of four at 12-8. Five straight Mount Union errors put ONU ahead 13-12. Going point for point, ONU made the push to pull ahead at 21-18. Another strong block by Peck and Jackson looked to turn the score around, but the Polar Bears would win again by the same score of 25-21.

Fourth set, Mount Union would trail by four in the opening rallies. Up 15-11, ONU committed consecutive attack errors to allow Mount Union to catch up and tie the score at 15 a piece and go all the way to 25-25. Two quick kills by Peck would settle the score at 27-25, pushing the match to a fifth set.

Mount Union opened with a kill and a block from freshman right side Maria Ellesin (Alliance/Marlington) but a 9-1 run by ONU would put the Raiders on pause and now fall behind 9-3. Chipping away, Mount Union would get back within three at 10-7 and then again at 12-9. A pair of perfectly placed kills put ONU up 14-9, looking for the match point. Another block-kill combo, this time by DiBease, would allow the Raiders to close in on the score at 14-12 before the Polar Bears would steal the match by a final score of 15-12. 

The Purple Raiders finish the regular season with an overall record of 22-5 and a conference record of 5-4. Moving on to the OAC Tournament, Mount Union is the No. 6 seed and will travel to No. 3 Muskingum on Tuesday, October 30 at 7:00 p.m.