HUTCHINSON—The Bethany volleyball dropped a pair of very tough matches in their first outing of the season at the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Fall Fling. The Swedes first fell to a very competitive Friends team, 25-20, 25-20, and 25-21, before facing no. 23 Ottawa where they were bested 25-16, 25-15, and 25-18.
Friends – 3, Bethany – 0
All three of these sets started with the teams neck and neck until late in the game. However, each time, the Falcons were able to make a late-set run to come up with a win. While the Falcons, claimed leads of eight points or even 10 points at times during the match, the Swedes energy on the court never made it feel that way and Friends was never able to keep their "big" leads for long.
Ashae Murphy, freshman middle, led the team with nine kills, however a pair of Swedes, Madie Baker, junior hitter, and Jordan Valentine, freshman middle, were right behind her with eight kills each. Baker led the team in hitting percentage at an even .200.
Mia Novakovic, sophomore setter, had the hands for Bethany notching 17 assists in her first outing as a Swede. Ivano Vojvodic, junior setter, had a late appearance into the game but made an immediate impact with nine assists.
Hi'ialo Apo, freshman libero, and Brenna Black, junior passer, each rang up double-digit digs with Apo snagging 12 and Black picking up 10. Defensively, in the front row, Valentine led the squad with two assists on a block and two of her own blocks. Four other Swedes were successful in putting up a wall at the net.
Four Swedes served up aces; Valentine led the team with two, while Novakovic, Vojvodic, and Apo each had one.
Ottawa – 3, Bethany -0
In the first two sets, Ottawa started out strong taking and keeping an early lead. The Swedes turned it around during the middle of the set, starting to make their climb back on the heels of the Braves. However, they were too far behind to catch up when they started playing the catchup game. However, in set three the Swedes matched the Braves intensity in the beginning of the set, trading points early on. Unfortunately, a late-set run by the Braves gave them the push they needed to sneak away with the remainder of the match.
Baker and Christina Garcia, sophomore hitter, led the team with four kills each while Vojvodic and Valentine each added three to the mix. Vojvodic took over the setting duties, adding 13 kills to her line for the night and Mariah Lombardo, freshman passer, grabbed an ace.
Defensively, Serenity Storey, junior middle, led the team with seven assists on the block and one all by herself. Baker was a force up front again getting in on five blocks and three other Swedes got up on the block as well. In the back row, Vojvodic led the team with eight digs, followed by Black with seven, and Apo and Lombardo with six each.