By: Dan Sabol
The beginning of the 2013 season has been rough for the Wittenberg volleyball team. The team entered this past weekend’s Wittenberg Fall Classic with an overall record of 2-4, as the Tigers had lost all four of their matches against nationally ranked opponents. The Wittenberg Fall Classic represented a chance for the team to right the ship and begin to fight their way back up the national rankings.
On Friday, Sept. 13, Wittenberg opened the tournament against Juniata College, the number 16 ranked team in the country. The Tigers owned a three match winning streak against Juniata which dated back to 2009. But, the Tigers were unable to extend the streak, as Juniata prevailed in straight sets 25-23, 25-16 and 25-19. Wittenberg actually led for the majority of the first set, including 22-19 with only a few points remaining. But, Juniata rallied to score six of the next seven points and win the set. The opponents then carried this momentum the rest of the way to dominant victories in the final two sets, with the Tigers failing to threaten them. Senior Andrea Behling paced the Tigers with nine kills, eight digs and three blocks in a very versatile performance. Junior Meghan Vodopich was superb, as she had 20 assists, 13 digs and six kills.
The Tigers finally broke through on day two of the tournament and took care of business against a ranked opponent. The number 10 ranked Tigers took on eighth ranked Otterbein University in an OAC-NCAC affair. Wittenberg was dominant for the majority of the match, winning 3-1, with scores of 25-21, 25-23, 19-25 and 25-18. All-American sophomore Kara Seidenstricker led the team with 13 kills, 13 digs and two aces. Sophomore Melissa Emming also was excellent at the net, chipping in 13 kills. Sophomore Katie Zito made her first start of her career at libero and led the team with 19 digs. Behling added nine kills and Vodopich recorded a whopping 35 assists.
Wittenberg dominated the final match of the weekend, clobbering Mount St. Joseph in straight sets 25-11, 25-20, and 25-16. Behling added another nine kills and was named to the All-Tournament Team. Vodopich again excelled, adding fifteen digs and 30 assists. Seidenstricker also had 10 kills, 13 digs and five aces.
Wittenberg hosts Oberlin, Wooster and Heidelberg next weekend, with the first two matches marking the start of NCAC play. The Tigers will look to win their eighth straight conference championship.