October 19, 2011

Wittenberg Beats Denison To Clinch Share Of Sixth Straight NCAC Regular Season Title

YouTube Recap

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — The Wittenberg Tigers made it official with a 3-0 whitewashing of visiting Denison — for the sixth year in a row and 17th time since 1992, Wittenberg's name will stand atop the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) regular season standings.

The fourth-ranked Tigers cruised past the Big Red by set scores of 25-8, 25-9 and 25-18 to improve to 25-2 overall and 14-0 in the NCAC. Denison, which has not defeated Wittenberg since 1991 and now trails the all-time series 45-6, dropped to 10-14 overall and 5-7 in the conference.

The difference in the match was Wittenberg's offensive efficiency, as the Tigers attacked at a sterling .356 clip, pounding 41 kills against just nine errors on 90 attempts. That compares quite favorably to Denison's 17 kills and 18 errors on 94 attack attempts.

A solid defense — both blocking at the net and digging along the back row — was key to Wittenberg's ability to force errors and limit scoring opportunities for the Big Red. Senior Miranda Sagle (Springfield, Ohio/Shawnee) was credited with a match-high four blocks, while junior Christina Gilene (Milford, Ohio/McNicholas) was steady as always with 20 digs. That gave her 1,337 career digs, moving her into eighth place in Wittenberg history.

The offense was sparked by the play of senior Kimmie Dyer (Copley, Ohio/Copley), who knocked down 11 kills and made one error on just 13 swings for a robust .769 attack percentage. The setting duo of junior Hallie Donathan (Tipp City, Ohio/Tippecanoe) and freshman Meghan Vodopich (Canton, Ohio/Perry) was solid with 24 and 12 assists, respectively. Vodopich added a pair of aces to give her 48 on the season, which puts her seventh on Wittenberg's season aces chart.

The Tigers finish up the NCAC schedule with a challenging road trip at Hiram — which trails Wittenberg by two matches after tying the Tigers for the 2010 regular season title — on Friday, Oct. 28, and at Allegheny on Saturday, Oct. 29. Before that, however, Wittenberg steps out of conference play one more time to play three matches against nationally ranked competition over the weekend at Wisconsin-Whitewater.

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