The Bethel College volleyball team is showing flashes of brilliance, but continues to struggle, falling to Ottawa University in three sets Wednesday in KCAC play at Thresher Gym.
Ottawa won 25-17, 25-22, 25-13.
“They’re a good blocking team and we worked all week on hitting around the block,” Bethel coach Stacy Middleton said. “Our serve receive hasn’t been as good as in the past, and that makes it a little more difficult. They never quit. They work so hard all the time. Things just don’t always go in our favor.”
The Threshers came into the match following one of its best performances of the season, beating rival Tabor in four sets.
“That was such a great game against Tabor,” Middleton said. “We had all three aspects of the game working. That was fun.”
Ottawa improves to 19-14, 8-3 in KCAC play, staying in third place in the conference with one match remaining. Bethel drops to 7-19, 1-10 in KCAC play. The loss knocks the Threshers out of post-season play.
Ayona Tharps led the Braves on attack with 12 kills. Yuleika Jimenez added 10 kills. Allison Bauer set 21 assists. Autumn Freeman had 12 digs. Breanna Vail downed five solo blocks.
Jade Gleason led the Bethel attack with eight kills. Jordyn Allen had seven kills. Gabby Valdez set 25 assists. Katey Wilhelm had 16 digs, while Ivy Bringer had 11 digs. Allen downed three blocks.
Leading 6-5 in the first set, Bethel gave up a 5-0 run and never recovered.
Bethel was able to get its hits down in the second game. Tied 18-18, Ottawa made a 4-1 run and held on for the win.
Bethel fell behind 20-10 in the third set.
Bethel ends the season at 7 p.m. Saturday at home against Bethany. The Swedes are 23-6, 9-2 in KCAC play. The Swedes knocked off conference leader Saint Mary in five sets and can claims a share of the conference title and the top seed in the post-season tournament with a win over Bethel and a USM loss to Avila.
Bethel will honor the two seniors on its roster — Kerrigan Simons and Allen.
“I already told them that it’s going to be another tough match,” Middleton said. “They are going to have to be ready to lay it on the line. They have nothing to lose.”
OTTAWA (19-14, 8-3 KCAC) — (kills-aces-blocks) Makayla Aspegren 7-0-1; Breanna Vail 1-0-5; Heather Huesman 0-0-0; Yuleika Jimenez 10-0-1; Allison Bauer 0-0-0; Ava Taton 0-1-0; Brooke Fearka 0-0-0; Ayona Tharps 12-0-3; Autumn Freeman 0-1-0; Caitlyn Cox 6-0-3; Allison Thornton 0-1-0; Ryleigh Burdick 5-0-1; Zari Montgomery 0-0-0; Christa Todd 0-1-0; Emily Jackson 0-0-0. TOTALS 41-4-11.0.
BETHEL (7-19, 1-10 KCAC) — (kills-aces-blocks) Kalyn Corley 0-0-0; Amber Mott 1-0-0; Mia Loganbill 6-0-0; Gabby Valdez 2-0-0; Jensen Roth 0-0-0; Stephany Meyer 3-0-2; Jade Gleason 8-0-0; Katey Wilhelm 0-0-0; Ivy Bringer 1-0-0; Jordyn Allen 7-0-3. TOTALS 28-0-5.0.
Assist leaders — OU: Bauer 21, Montgomery 11. BC: Valdez 25. Dig leaders — OU: Freeman 12, Bauer 8. BC: Wilhelm 16, Bringer 11.