CINCINNATI, Ohio – The Wilmington College women's volleyball team opened its 2018 season with a pair of three-set defeats, falling to Cincinnati Christian University 25-17, 25-11, 27-25 and Mount St. Joseph University (MSJ) 25-15, 25-16, 25-18 in a tri-match played at MSJ on Saturday.
"We had stretches of play that were very encouraging for our future as well as stretches where we struggled to finish balls and score points," Head Coach Tim O'Brien said. "Our team is very young and I thought today was a great learning environment for our players."
In the match against CCU, the Eagles took control early, hitting a .235 clip in the first set while holding the Fightin' Quakers to a negative attack percentage. Wilmington hit slightly better in set two, but CCU had 13 kills on 29 attack attempts and just two errors for a .379 attack percentage.
Despite being down 2-0, Wilmington showed resiliency by battling in the third set. With the set tied 15-15, the Quakers went on a 5-0 run off the serve of Morgan Householder, forcing a CCU timeout. Unfortunately for Wilmington, the Eagles answered with a 5-0 run of its own to tie the set 20-20.
CCU would go on a 4-2 run and earn two match points, but a service error and two attack errors gave Wilmington a set point at 25-24. The two Eagle kills and Quaker attack error that followed gave CCU the match.
Wilmington tallied 20 kills as a team including five from Jillian Wesco and four from both Mariella Szrom and Karrah Wind. Setter Jacie Koontz dished out 12 assists while Wesco led the squad in the back row with 12 digs.
Olivia Frazier led CCU offensively with 16 kills and a .355 attack percentage. Caitlyn Pierce had 29 assists while Brianna Howard served six of the Eagles' 13 aces as a team.
In the match against MSJ, the Lions tallied 16 and 15 kills in the first two sets respectively while the Quakers recorded four and eight kills in those sets. Neither team hit its offensive stride in the final set as Wilmington had 10 kills and 11 errors compared to seven kills and seven errors for MSJ.
Amber Rox led Wilmington offensively with five kills while Wesco had four. Similar to the CCU match, Wesco led the team in digs with 14 while Householder had 12 and Koontz finished with 10.
Cailey Plemmons finished with 13 kills and one error on 27 swings for a .444 attack percentage. Setter Sydney Wilzbach dished out 34 assists.
Wilmington (0-2) hosts Franklin College in the home-opener on Wednesday evening.