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Mount volleyball season ends with loss to #3 Washington (MO) University in the Elmhurst Regional

Friday, November 09, 2012
by Dane Neumeister

The College of Mount St. Joseph women's volleyball team's season ended on Friday afternoon at the NCAA Division III Regional Tournament in Elmhurst, IL, as the Lions suffered a 3-0 loss to third-ranked Washington (MO) University, 25-21, 25-17, 25-13. The Mount ends the season with a 14-15 overall mark.

The Mount found itself down by a 15-7 in the first set against the Bears, but fought back and behind a service ace from Hannah Vanarsdall (Cincinnati, OH/McAuley) closed the gap to 18-14. With Wash U holding a 21-15 lead, the Mount, with Janelle Davis (Convoy, OH/Wayne Trace) recording two service aces, cut the deficit to one point, 21-20. That would be the closest the Lions would get as the Bears closed the game on a 4-1 run to win, 25-21. Vanarsdall led the way in the first game with six kills while Davis added eight assists, three digs and two aces.

Set two saw the Lions fall behind by scores of 5-1 and 10-5, as Nicole Sherpensky (Cincinnati, OH/Northwest) tried to rally the team early on. The Bears used an accurate hitting attack, and a strong defense, nearly doubling the Lions' hitting percentage throughout the mid-point of the second set to grab a 16-12 advantage. The Lions would close to within four points again, at 18-14, but saw Wash U go on a 3-1 scoring spree and lead, 21-15, prompting a Mount timeout. The Bears closed the second set with a kill to post the win, 25-17. Bethany Ritter (Cincinnati, OH/McAuley) led the way for the Lions in the second set, recording six kills while Davis had nine assists. Sherpensky chipped in four kills while libero Jaclyn Stenger (Cincinnati, OH/Oak Hills) added four digs.

The Lions rolled out to leads of 3-0 and 5-2 in the third set, determined not to be swept, but Wash U, behind a solid offense, got back into the match and tied the third set at six-all. From there the Bears asserted themselves and took the lead, 14-8, forcing a Mount timeout. Vanarsdall kept the margin at seven points, with a kill, 17-10, but the Bears would roll off the next four points to grab a commanding lead, 21-10. Ritter would add two kills down the stretch but Wash U would pull away, and post the third set win, 25-13, to win the match. Ritter collected four kills in the third set, while Vanarsdall (three) and Sherpensky (two) combined for five kills in the final set.

Mount Head Coach Jon Bennett had these comments about the match against Washington University.

“The match is what we thought it was going to be minus the result,'' Bennett said. "We expected a great match. Our athletes fought hard and competed for every ball. They (Wash U) served very aggressive and took us out of our serve receive and kept us out of rhythm a bit. We had an up and down year but accomplished our goal of winning the conference and conference tournament to make it to the NCAAs.”

Vanarsdall helped lead the Mount in the match with nine kills and nine digs while Ritter had a team-high 10 kills. Shepernsky chipped in six kills and Davis had 17 assists (in two sets played). Stenger and backcourt mate Michelle Woods (Ft. Wright, KY/Newport Central Catholic) combined for 13 digs. The match was the final one in college for seniors Michelle Webb (Cincinnati, OH/Deer Park), Stenger and Woods.

Ritter was pleased with how things came together this season, despite the season-ending loss.

“Going into the match we had a good feeling,'' Ritter stated. "Regardless of a win or loss we came together more as a team. I have the best teammates and couldn’t have asked to play with better leaders and teammates. It was a hard match but we were going to keep fighting. I wasn’t worried what about the other side (Wash U) was doing as we just tried to do our job but they took us out of our serve receive.”

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