The Lady Jackets volleyball team came away with two huge victories on Saturday, October 5, as it conquered the Mount St. Joseph Lions in four sets and then silenced the Trine Thunder in the second match 3-1.
Defiance improves its record to 13-5 (1-0 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference), while Mount falls drops to 9-13 (0-1 HCAC) and Trine moves to 10-11 overall.
It was prior to 2005 when DC last defeated the Lions of MSJ and the Thunder also bested the Jackets last season and have a great tradition with their program. "We had a big conversation earlier this week about what it takes to be a champion and the girls really stepped up and finally came together as a team today," stated head coach Brie Brenner. "To beat these two teams in the same day was amazing for our program."
The Yellow Jackets opened up action with Mount in the first contest at the Karl H. Weaner Center. It was only the team's second home game of the season, but playing on their own court for the first time in one month really gave DC an added spark. It jumped ahead early on the reigning conference champion Lions and grabbed the first set 25-20.
Riding on the shoulders of senior Chelsea Ludeman (Napoleon, OH / HS), who had a team high 19 kills in the match, Defiance pulled away from MSJ with a second-straight 25-20 win in set two.
However, the Lions did not go down easy. The preseason No.1 team in the HCAC came out and played like it in the third set, as MSJ handled Defiance by a score of 25-15.
With some momentum shifted back to Mount, the two top conference squads got after it in the deciding fourth set that turned out to be a thriller. The Purple and Gold jumped out in front early by scores of 5-0 and then 10-7. But the Lions clawed their way back and took the lead 18-17. The teams fought tooth and nail for every point there on out, but Defiance would come out on top with a 26-24 victory that sealed the match. With the win, Defiance has now won three-straight conference opening matches.
Ludeman led the way in kills but also chipped in with 14 digs and a team leading four total blocks. Juniors Bree Anderson (Huntertown, Ind. / Carroll) and Alicia Kalik (South Lyon, Mich. / HS) added 13 kills and 33 assists in the match, respectively. Sophomore Rebecca Kain (Orland, Ind. / Prairie Heights) was solid in the back row and recorded 18 digs.
In the second match of the afternoon for the Lady Jackets, they came out on fire in the opening set against the Thunder and were up early 13-6. But Trine stormed all the way back to tie things at 22, before edging out DC 26-24.
Brenner was not exactly pleased with the first-set victory that had slipped away from her team, but she did not let the defeat get to her squad and DC rallied to take a thrilling second set by a score of 27-25.
With the momentum shifted back in Defiance's favor and the fantastic home crowd really coming in to play, the Jackets wore down Trine over the next two sets. The teams battled early on in the third, but DC pulled away to a score of 25-20 and then came out and closed the book on the Thunder 25-18 in the final set.
Ludeman was even more dominant in the match than against Mount. The outside-hitter totaled 20 kills on an incredible .485 attack percentage, while racking up 12 digs. Seniors Lexy Pierce (Wauseon, Ohio / HS) and Christa Seidenstricker (Plain City, Ohio / Jonathan Alder) also came up big with 10 kills apiece. Kalik again led the way setting with 40 assists and Kain notched another 18 digs, just as she did in the first match.
The Purple and Gold volleyball team will enjoy these big victories tonight, but be back tomorrow focusing on its next match. The squad will travel to Richmond, Ind. for its next contest against the Earlham Quakers. Action is slated to begin at 7 pm.