[Written by Gabriella Kreuz]
Postseason hopes are looking grim for the John Carroll University volleyball team after a tough loss to Ohio Northern University on Friday night at the DeCarlo Varsity Center. A 3-1 loss to the Polar Bears puts their record at 0-7 in the Ohio Athletic Conference. However, the Blue Streaks did not go quietly.
Cat and mouse is the only way to sum up the first set of the night between JCU and Ohio Northern. The Polar Bears had an early 3-0 lead, but the Blue and Gold quickly closed the gap. As the match progressed, the Blue Streaks continued to stay on the tail of the Polar Bears, matching their every move. With the score even at 16-16, Ohio Northern went on a four-point run to make it 19-15. JCU responded with its own surge, tying the score back up at 19, largely due to the efforts of junior outside hitter Teresa Noewer. Ohio Northern fought back with four of the last five, however, to take set one, 25-21.
Ohio Northern took full control in game two, jumping out to a 14-1 lead. The Blue Streaks struggled to find the rhythm they had going into game one, and the Polar Bears sailed to a 25-9 win behind Kaitlann Hogrefe (eight total kills).
In game three, the Blue Streaks bounced back with some spark, as they had early leads of 8-3 and 15-10. Freshman Sarah Orlandi, who finished the match with 13 kills, executed three of them in this set. Despite a 22-14 JCU lead, the Polar Bears played catch up to close the gap to as close as 23-24. Junior Charlotte Sykora knew what to do in the pressure-packed situation, delivering a kill that earned the JCU game point, 25-23 final.
After John Carroll closed to 13-11 on an ace by Sara Kaminski in set four, Ohio Northern scored eight of the next 11 points, and the Blue Streaks never recovered. With the 25-15 final tally, the Polar Bears took the crucial set and the match. Despite the loss, the Blue Streaks were able to walk away knowing they didn’t hand it over easy.
“ONU is a really good team; we went in and gave them a taste of their own medicine, and they definitely weren’t expecting it,” said junior outside hitter Letty Barbi.
“We put up a strong fight right in the first set, and they were surprised by it. We didn’t win, but taking a set from them definitely feels good,” Barbi stated.
Editor’s Note: The Blue Streaks, who fell to 10-17, will prepare to take on Heidelberg University on Tuesday night in Tiffin, Ohio. Results, box scores and game summaries can be found at www.jcusports.com.