Tigers Rally for NCAA First Round Win; Face Wittenberg on Friday

Tigers Rally for NCAA First Round Win; Face Wittenberg on Friday

Grand Rapids, Mich. - Facing a 2-1 deficit, DePauw rallied for fourth and fifth set wins to top 15th-ranked Hope 3-2 (25-18, 23-25, 21-25, 25-23, 15-9) in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Championship at Calvin College. The Tigers will face conference foe Wittenberg after it opened play with a 3-0 victory over Carthage. Tomorrow's second-round match is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. DePauw improved to 18-10 with the win, while Hope finished at 25-8.

DePauw closed out the first set with five straight kills with Suzanne Peters totaling three and Morgan Stearley and Ally Low each adding one. Hope opened the second set with three straight points, but the Tigers gained the lead on three occasions. Hope then scored four straight to take a 16-13 lead and DePauw got no closer than two the rest of the way.

The Flying Dutch carried that momentum into the third set by scoring the first seven points. DePauw fought back to even the score at 12-12 and still only trailed 22-21, but Hope won the set's final three points to take a 2-1 advantage.

A back-and-fourth fourth set ensued with eight lead changes and 16 ties. With the set tied, 23-23, the Tigers evened the match as Hope failed to get a serve in and Liv Hartman recorded a kill to force the fifth set.

DePauw took over the fifth set after the teams battled to a 7-7 tie. Meaghan Etling's kill gave the Tigers the lead and they scored four more with Etling serving to take a 12-7 advantage. Hope won the next point before the Tigers captured three of the next four for the win.

Stearley paced DePauw with 18 kills followed by Peters with 17 and Hartman with 15 as DePauw held a 66-54 edge and outhit the Flying Dutch, .182-.141. Katie Reitberg and McKenna Otto had 12 kills apiece for the Flying Dutch.

Low had 53 assists for the Tigers, while Adair Cutler and Tracy Westra each had 21 for Hope.

Hope had nine aces to DePauw's three with Cutler totaling three. Etling paced DePauw with two.

The Tigers also held a 99-73 edge in digs as Kaylee Nichols led with 19 followed by Stearley with 18. Peters and Jenna Purichia followed with 15 apiece. Gabbi Vachon led Hope with 21 digs.

Hope totaled 15.0 blocks to the Tigers' 6.0 as Grace Ditzenberger has two block solos and nine assists. Etling led DePauw with one block solo and three assists.