The Ladies volleyball team’s impressive run in the NCAC tournament concluded on Saturday with a loss to Denison University. The Ladies entered the eight-team NCAC tournament as the seventh-seed and were able to upset both the sixth-seeded College of Wooster and the third-seeded Ohio Wesleyan University (OWU) before falling to second-seeded Denison.
In Kenyon’s first-round match against Wooster, the Ladies went down 2-1 before coming back to advance to the quarterfinals. The first two sets were split fairly evenly. In the third set, Wooster went on a brutal 6-0 run with three Ladies errors and two kills. With Wooster only a set away from victory, All-NCAC second-team selection Mackenzie Bruzzio ’20 and classmate Haley Witschey ’20 led the Ladies to a 25-7 win in the fourth set.
In the deciding fifth set, the Ladies did not disappoint. Maleah Miller ’20, an All-NCAC honorable mention selection this season, carried the team, notching three kills and two aces while building the momentum in a 6-1 run that helped Kenyon secure a 15-8 upset in the game-clinching frame.
In the NCAC quarterfinal, the Ladies faced off against OWU, who the Ladies lost to 3-0 in their only regular-season matchup. OWU won the first set in a comfortable fashion, holding Kenyon to only a .026 hitting mark and winning 25-15. However, Kenyon didn’t panic with the Ladies winning three straight sets to move on to face Denison in the semifinals.
The Big Red, who had earned byes in the first two rounds of the NCAC tournament, started off strong against a Kenyon team that had made it farther than most expected. The Ladies built an early lead in the first set, but Denison answered back with a 9-0 run fueled by five Kenyon errors.
The second set was competitive throughout, with three lead changes and 10 ties. With the set tied at 24, Denison’s Sidney Gossard delivered a kill followed by an ace to secure her team’s second straight-set victory. In the third and final set of Kenyon’s season, the Ladies started off strong, pushing ahead to an 8-3 lead with kills from Witschey, Miller and Bruzzio. Denison, however, responded with a 9-1 tear and followed it up with a 7-4 run that finished off Kenyon in a 3-0 defeat.
Bruzzio, who led the Ladies in kills this season, had eight against Denison, giving her 1,043 as a career total, the sixth-best in program history.
Kenyon’s 2019 season ended with a 9-20 overall record, highlighted by this impressive NCAC tournament run to the semifinal.