On Nov. 9, 2019, the DePauw Women’s Volleyball team earned their first North Coast Athletic Conference Volleyball Tournament title after winning 3-1 against Denison University in the championship match. DePauw improved to 18-12.
Junior Corri Rusk said that going into the finals, the team felt “confident, but still at the moment couldn’t get comfortable because we had lost to them in the regular season. We had our eyes on their middle hitter. We had to shut them down.”
The Tigers started the opening set with a 2-0 lead before Denison took the lead by three points on four occasions. Once the score reached 11-8 (Denison), DePauw bounced back, scoring five times before taking the lead 13-12. The Tigers maintained the lead for the rest of the set, ultimately winning 25-19.
Beginning the second set, DePauw got in the lead 5-1. They quickly rose 12-6 and Denison called a timeout. The closest Denison managed to get the rest of the set was a five-point difference. DePauw won the second set 25-16 and took a 2-0 lead.
A close third set had the lead changing five times and DePauw and Denison tying the set 13 times before Denison scored the winning six points. Denison won the third set 25-18, cutting the Tigers’ overall lead by 1.
In the fourth set, Denison maintained the lead for a while, holding it by four points on three different occasions. Denison had a 12-9 lead just before DePauw scored the next three points, tying the set 12-12. After that, DePauw continued to score and quickly took the lead 15-14. The Tigers held the lead for the rest of the set. Denison fought back toward the end of the set, gaining three points in a row until the Tigers were only in the lead by two (24-21). However, Denison made an attack error that ended the set. DePauw won the set 25-21.
Sophomore Grace Filburn said the team did a lot of great things this weekend. “ This weekend we were able to put it all together with each person in each position really playing at the top of their game, and that definitely helped us win the championship.”
Senior Morgan Stearley made 22 kills and hit .275 and senior Liv Hartman recorded 15 kills while hitting .211. Filbrun contributed 26 assists while senior Kaylee Nichols and Rusk recorded two aces each. Nichols and sophomore Jenna Purichia each had 19 digs with senior Meaghan Etling adding four blocks, two of which were solo and two were assists.
Of the weekend, Rusk added, “I think we played together as a team this weekend. In the past, we had the pieces, we just couldn’t put them together and this weekend we did that. We had confidence in ourselves and our teammates and did our individual jobs for the overall goal.”
Because they achieved the tournament title, the Tigers automatically earned a spot in the NCAA Division III Championship. This will be the ninth overall and fourth consecutive year participating in the NCAA tournament for the Tigers.
The Tigers will play Calvin College on Nov. 14 in the first round of the NCAA tournament.