By: Ryan Gasser, sports information director
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Friday night marked the beginning of the 2018 season for Capital University Volleyball. The Crusaders opened the year against the defending Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference champions, Hanover College (Ind.). The Panthers turned the Crusaders away in straight sets on the opening day of the Capital-Otterbein Fall Classic.
Hanover, also playing in its first match of the season, collected the victory by scores of 25-21, 25-23, 25-17. Capital freshmen Delanie Nahikian (Allegan, Mich./Allegan) and Olivia Hale (Enon, Ohio/Greenon) had encouraging debuts to their careers. Nahikian led both teams with nine kills on the offensive end. Hale was right behind her with eight kills while also adding four service aces, seven digs, and three block assists.
Despite those numbers, Hanover collectively outhit Capital after posting a .245 success rate to its .069. A 10-2 run early in the first set helped the Panthers pull away with the early victory. The second set was a pure battle that landed the Purple and White the lead, 23-22, late in the game. However, a Capital service error set a three-point swing in motion to help Hanover land a second set victory, 25-23. Another fast start by the Panthers set the tone for the rest of the match. Two small runs and more strong hitting numbers paced the Panthers and helped them clinch the match in straight sets.
Kelsey Ketcham led the Panthers with eight kills and claimed the final point of the match. She also led the team with 15 assists.
Capital will look to rebound on day two of the Capital-Otterbein Fall Classic on Saturday, Sept. 1 at The Capital Center Performance arena. They will place twice on Saturday, beginning with Ohio Wesleyan University at 12 p.m. They will wrap up the weekend tournament against Adrian College (Mich.) at 6 p.m. Live statistics and video will be provided for both matches.