Wittenberg advances easily
No. 5 Tigers beat Rose-Hulman, will face No. 13 Heidelberg next
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — No. 5 Wittenberg overwhelmed Rose-Hulman in the first round of the NCAA Division III Tournament sweeping the Engineers 3-0 by set scores of 25-15, 25-10, 25-11 in a match played at Calvin College.
The win moved the Tigers into a second-round match against No. 13 Heidelberg at 4:30 p.m. Friday. Wittenberg, ranked fifth nationally after capturing both the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) regular season and tournament championships, enters the match with a 32-3 overall record. Rose-Hulman, champion of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, saw its season end with a record of 24-9.
The Tigers jumped on top from the outset of each set, quickly building big leads by combining a suffocating defense with an efficient offense. Wittenberg piled up 56 digs and four team blocks while limiting Rose-Hulman to a -.041 attack percentage. On the flip side, the Tigers' attack percentage was at least .205 in each set as six different players finished with at least three kills in the match.
Offensively, senior Kimmie Dyer was tops in kills with 13 on a stellar attack percentage of .321. She added nine digs. Senior Christine Simpson added seven kills, while three other players finished with five kills each. Junior setter Hallie Donathan dished out 17 assists to lead the Tigers.
Junior libero Christina Gilene topped the team defensively with a match-high 15 digs. Senior Miranda Sagle added three blocks. Also of note was the performance of freshman setter Meghan Vodopich, who handed out 15 assists to go along with career-best six services aces. She now has 63 service aces on the season, a school record.
Ironically, the only other meeting between Wittenberg and Rose-Hulman came in 2000, also won by the Tigers at Calvin. Friday's match against Heidelberg will be the second meeting between the two teams, after the Tigers beat the Student Princes 3-0 in a September match played at Mount St. Joseph.