HUTCHINSON—The Bethany volleyball season capped off a historic season on Friday in a KCAC Quarterfinals matchup with no. 10 seeded Oklahoma Wesleyan. The Swedes fell to the Eagles in four sets.
"It's always heartbreaking to end a season that way, but I am unbelievably proud of this group and all that we have accomplished this year," Swedes head coach, Brandi Stewart stated. "We set big goals at the beginning of the year and they all worked so hard to achieve those goals."
With 29 ties, six lead changes and the largest lead by either team being four points, the first set was not close to ending when reaching the 25-point mark. Throughout the entire set, both teams were able to utilize small runs to stay in the game, right on top of one another. However, Bethany was able to score a timely three points with kills from three different players to secure a 34-32 win. After the monster of the first set, both teams came out firing in the second game. Once again it was very back and forth until the Eagles were able to go on a 7-1 run to take a 15-7 advantage over Bethany. From there, the Swedes worked to get the set back within reach at 17-14 before the set moved forward in a similar fashion as the match had so far. Bethany was able to get the score to 21-19. Unfortunately, the Eagles were able to push ahead and sneak out a 25-22 set two victory. OKWU utilized that momentum to come out to a 4-1 advantage in the third set. However, the Swedes were once again able to fight their way back and a pair of four-point runs gave the Swedes their first advantage of the set, 16-12. The Eagles although would catch fire in the final points of the set, going on a nine-point run to make it game-point. The Swedes fought until the end of the game, but once again, the Eagles were able to get away with the win, 25-21. Finally, in the fourth set, the Eagles made a small early-set streak to own a 7-3 advantage. The Swedes then evened things up throughout the middle and towards the end of the set. However, OKWU was able to slowly inch their way in front, finally taking the set 25-21, winning the match 3-1.
Bethany had three athletes with double-digit kills in the match; Paola Sanabria-Lopez, junior hitter, and Jordan Valentine, sophomore middle, led the team with 18 and 17 kills, respectively. Ivona Vojvodic, senior setter, rounded out things with 11 kills. The recently named KCAC setter of the year, also recorded 45 assists and ended with a triple-double with 18 digs. Leading the Bethany defense in the back row was Haley Reifsteck, junior libero, and Paola Sanabira-Lopez, with 24 and 23, digs, respectively. Brenna Black, senior passer, added 12 digs to the mix. In the front row, the Swedes posted nine blocks as a team with Serenity Storey, senior middle, leading things off by getting in on five of those blocks. Valentine and Vojvodic each got in three blocks.
"A huge thank you to our four seniors for their dedication to our program. We wish them the best in their future endeavors," Stewart stated.
The Swedes will say farewell to four seniors; Vojvodic, Storey, Black and Chelsea Wertz, senior middle. Bethany finished their season with a 24-7 record, going 10-2 in conference play, and a second place finish in the KCAC field.
"This year laid a new foundation for what Bethany volleyball will be in the future," said Stewart. "I'm excited for the off-season to keep growing and improving, and to come back even stronger next year.