Volleyball finishes 3-0 at Big Red Invitational


GRANVILLE, Ohio (September 2, 2023) – One day after a 3-2 comeback victory in its season opener, the Denison University volleyball team finished up its opening weekend of the 2023 season with two more wins to move to 3-0 for the first time since 2012. Denison opened the day on Saturday with a 3-0 (25-21, 25-20, 25-14) victory over Washington and Jefferson College before closing out the Big Red Invitational with a 3-1 (25-18, 22-25, 25-14, 25-20) win over Franklin College.
Match 1 (Denison 3, Washington and Jefferson 0):

  • Denison improved its hitting performance throughout the match, hitting .219 percent with 13 kills in the first set, .286 with 15 kills in the second set, and .316 percent with 17 kills in the third.
  • Sophia Sobota (.353 hitting percentage), Kelly McCaskey and Maeve Perry (.538 hitting percentage) each recorded nine kills while Cailey Johns (.357 hitting percentage) had seven and Corinne Boyd had five.
  • Boyd also added three blocks assists while McCaskey reached double-digit digs (10) for the second match in row from her outside hitter position.
  • Alice Kempf dished out 35 assists and led the Big Red with three service aces while Sadie Habeeb made 16 digs.
  • The two teams were tied at 20-20 in the first before a 4-0 run for Denison featuring a kill by McCaskey, a kill by Johns, a service ace by Kempf and a kill by Perry.
  • Two points later, another kill by McCaskey gave the Big Red the 1-0 set lead.
  • In the second set, Denison trailed 9-7 before a 4-0 run again featuring kills by Johns, McCaskey and Perry.
  • The Big Red then led 15-13 before three straight kills by Sobota, Boyd and McCaskey gave them some breathing room up by five points.
  • Another 4-0 run for Denison, this time starting with three straight W&J attack errors and ending with an ace by Habeeb, made it 22-14 Big Red.
  • The Big Red never looked back after a 5-0 run in the third set gave themselves a 12-7 lead on another ace by Habeeb.
  • It was the first matchup between the Big Red and the Presidents since a 3-2 win for Denison at the Washington and Jefferson Tournament back in 2012. Denison now improves to 6-2 all-time against W&J with five straight wins.

Match 2 (Denison 1, Franklin 1):

  • Double-doubles by McCaskey (12 kills, 12 digs) and Kempf (43 assists, 14 digs) helped pave the way offensively for the Big Red while Boyd recorded 10 kills and hit .400 percent.
  • Both Sobota and Perry added nine kills and Johns had seven kills.
  • Ryan Kotalik recorded a very impressive six service aces while three other Big Red players had three. As a team, Denison finished with 18 aces.
  • Habeeb led the Big Red defensive effort with 16 digs while Ayla Dunbar reached double-digits for the first time in her young career with 10.
  • After splitting the first two sets, Denison used a 6-0 run to take a 20-11 lead in the third set and then finished off the set with five straight points bookended by kills by Sobota.
  • Denison then trailed 6-1 in the fourth set before a 6-0 run featuring four Franklin errors and back-to-back aces by Kotalik.
  • Denison would never trail again but despite taking an 18-10 lead, saw Franklin get all the way to within one at 21-20 before winning the final four points of the night on a kill by McCaskey, a Franklin attack error, an ace by Habeeb and a final Franklin attack error.
  • The only previous matchup between Denison and Franklin was a 3-2 loss for the Big Red back in 2005.

Next Up: The Big Red will play at Muskingum University in nonconference action beginning at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, September 5, before heading to the MIAA/NCAC Crossover hosted that weekend (Sep. 8-9) by Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio.

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