Oct. 12 – CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Hiram College volleyball team found themselves in their fourth, five-set match of the season, dropping a tight, 3-2, decision to Case Western Reserve University in non-conference action on Wednesday night.
In one of the most tightly contested matches of the season, the Terriers fell to the Spartans by set scores of 26-24, 21-25, 25-23, 28-26 and 17-15. Throughout the marathon match, the teams played through 61 ties and a total of 30 lead changes.
In the opening set, the host Spartans (14-5) ran out to the biggest lead of the game at 15-9 on a kill by Marion Barton. Hiram would chip away at the lead throughout the set, eventually taking a 21-20 advantage on a kill by Laura Kelly.
Trailing 24-23 and facing set point, the Terriers used a 3-0 run to take the opening game, 26-24. Senior Marissa Jay tallied one of her game-high 34 kills. Then, following an attack error by the Spartans, put the set away with an ace to give Hiram the 1-0 lead.
After Case Western captured the second set by a score of 25-21, Hiram would respond.
The third set saw continued back-and-forth play, as the teams found themselves knotted 12 times through the first 13 points. Still deadlocked at 13-13, Case Western embarked on a 4-0 advantage to push ahead 17-13.
The Spartan lead would swell to as many as five (20-15), before the Terriers responded. Outscoring Case 10-3, including three more aces from Jay and a pair of kills by Kelly, the Terriers raced ahead to take set two, 25-23, and a 2-1 lead.
The hosts would have another answer, needing three extra points in the fourth set to knot the match at 2-2 (28-26). The fourth stanza was the closest contested yet, seeing 16 ties throughout, with neither team holding more than a four-point advantage.
Decisive set number five was additionally played well by both sides, with both teams hitting well over .200 in the game. Hiram pushed the game to the brink on two occasions, including 15-14, but a late, three-point run, concluded by a service ace from Shannon Carroll, gave the hosts the 17-15 set win, and the match victory, 3-2.
Multiple players shined for both teams, with the Terriers seeing a pair of players tally double-doubles.
Jay commanded the spotlight in the five-set thriller, breaking the 30-kill plateau for the second time this season. The senior finished with 32 kills, coming just two shy of the single-game record, which she set in a five-set win over John Carroll on Sept. 20.
Jay also finished the game with her fifth-straight double-double, adding 16 digs and a season-best six service aces. Perhaps no one in the conference has been as hot as the senior outside hitter, as she is averaging 22.4 kills and 16.4 digs over her last five matches.
Setter Clair Maier also finished the game with a double-double, posting 58 assists to go along with 10 digs. Her assist total marked the second most this season for the senior, posting 55+ for the second time this year (66 against John Carroll).
Other top performances for the Terriers included Kelly's nine kill, 22 dig performance and a game-high 23 digs for libero Megan Schaefer. Kelly broke 20+-digs for the fourth time this season, while Schaefer's dig total was the fourth most for her this season.
The Terriers will get back to North Coast Athletic Conference action on Saturday, October 15, as they travel to Wooster to take on the Fighting Scotts. Action is slated for a 1 p.m. start.