DU sweeps two at Pioneer Classic

Lauren Gustafson had 15 kills and a .382 hitting percentage on Saturday.
Lauren Gustafson had 15 kills and a .382 hitting percentage on Saturday.

The Denison volleyball team swept a pair of matches on Saturday at the Pioneer Classic hosted by Marietta College.  The Big Red blanked host Marietta 3-0 (25-22, 25-17, 25-16) in their first match and finished the trip with a 3-0 (25-17, 25-9, 25-10) victory over Roanoke.

Despite trailing early in the first set, Marietta pulled ahead of the Big Red 10-8 thanks to a 6-0 run early in the match.  The two squads battled back-and-forth until the Pioneers tied the match at 18-18.  With the set tied, sophomore Brittany Perry put Denison back in front for good with a kill off an assist from freshman setter Carly Newell.  Marietta trimmed the deficit to one on multiple occasions down the stretch, but a pair of ball handling errors by the home team and a kill by Annemarie Fischer closed out the first-set win.

After dropping the first point of the second set, the Big Red rattled off seven of the next eight points to take a 7-2 lead.  Denison led by as many as 10 (18-8) before winning the set via 25-17 score.  In a tightly contested third set, DU broke a 13-13 tie with six-straight points.  Sophomore Kenzie Kuhn recorded a pair of kills during the run, while senior Lauren Gustafson and freshman Rachele Lock each had a finisher.  Marietta trimmed the deficit to 19-16, but another six-point run completed the shutout victory.

Perry and sophomore Elena Lein each had 12 kills to pace the Denison attack, while Fischer finished with eight kills.  Newell logged 20 assists, while junior Jessica Borsani had 17 assists and an ace.  Defensively, junior libero Emily Marguerite recorded 19 digs, while senior Sarah Blum posted 10.  In addition to their 12 kills, Lein and Perry combined for five block assists.

In the nightcap against Roanoke, Gustafson paced that offense with 10 kills. Lock logged eight kills, while Perry and Lein each had seven.  Borsani dished out 25 assists, while Newell had 15 helpers.  Marguerite registered 24 digs, while Borsani and Blum had 16 and 15 digs, respectively.  At the net, Lein registered six solo blocks and two block assists.

Denison (10-4) opens North Coast Athletic Conference play on Wednesday when they host Oberlin College at 7 p.m.