WESTERVILLE, Ohio – As most rivalries play out, a battled ensued at the Rike Center in Westerville, Ohio between the Capital University and Otterbein University volleyball teams. The Cardinals edged out the Crusaders in three games by scores of 25-23, 25-18, and 26-24.
Otterbein (9-7, 1-0 OAC) held as much as a five-point lead over Capital in the first set, but the Crusaders worked their way back into the game using four Cardinal attack errors to bring the match back to within one point. Neither team took command until Otterbein began to pull away, 23-20. Sophomore Becca Kapavik (Johnstown, Ohio) teamed up on a pair of blocks with Graysan Braun and Kristen Nickles to tie the game at 23-23. Following a service error by Capital, Otterbein's Sam Hurdzan put the set away with the winning point.
While the second set began with both team's jostling for the lead, Otterbein took its two-point advantage with the score 12-10 and scored seven of the next nine points to bump its lead to seven. Capital never recovered and fell two games to zero.
Capita appeared to have control of the third set, building a 17-12 lead heading into the latter half of the third set. Gracie Staten put together a pair of service aces leading into Maddy Shelley's kill, prompting a Capital timeout. Capital held a lead with three points to obtain for the win. This time, Otterbein was heavy at the net. Marie Thornton, Maddy Shelley and Ashton Riffle combined for back-to-back blocks preceding a Capital attack error, giving the lead back to the Cardinals, 24-22.
The Crusaders fought off match point twice but a block error set up the winning point, obtained by Staten on a service ace.
Capital hit just .023 as a team behind 19 kills compared to its 21 kills. Conversely, Otterbein hit .124, rebounding from a first set in which they hit in the negative. Maddy Shelley and Morgan Lowenkamp both racked up double-digit kills totals with 10 and 11, respectively. Lowenkamp hit .421 on the attack, committing just three errors on 19 attempts.
Capital is now 4-16 overall on the season and opens the OAC season with its first loss. The Crusaders will be back in action this Saturday, Oct. 3 for their OAC home opener against the University of Mount Union, which just recently dropped out of the national top-25 poll.