Nov. 15, 2009

Courtesy of Ohio NOrthern Athletics

HOLLAND, Mich. -
The No. 5 Ohio Northern volleyball took Set 1, but Hope (Mich.) defeated the Polar Bears 3-1 in the Great Lakes Regional Championship Saturday evening at the DeVos Fieldhouse.

The Polar Bears end their season with a 30-4 record, while the Flying Dutch improve to 33-3.

Senior All-American Liz Schnelle was again the team leader with 23 kills on the night and added a season-high three total blocks.

For the tournament, Schnelle racked up an astounding 73 kills in just three matches.

Schnelle and junior setter Kelly Smerekanich both earned Great Lakes Regional All-Tournament Team honors.

On the night, Smerekanich recorded her second consecutive double-double with 40 assists and a career-high 15 digs.

Senior Renee Berry also had her best match of the tournament, recording a double-double with 12 kills and 13 digs.

Sophomore Kasey Roeser led the team with 20 digs and now has the fifth most digs in school history with 1,425.

Nicole Howard also had double digit digs with 11 on the night.

Both teams came out on fire offensively to begin Set 1, as neither team made a hitting error until Hope hit a ball out of bounds to make the score 8-6 Ohio Northern.

Northern would also score the next point on a kill by Schnelle to go up 9-6 before the Flying Dutch rattled off four points in a row to take a 10-9 lead.

The score continued to see-saw in the first set, as neither team could build more than a one-point lead until Pruneski gave Ohio Northern a 16-14 lead with a kill in front of the right back defender.

Hope would score the next point, but the Polar Bears answered right back with four straight points to go up 20-15 on a Hope hitting error and a Schaller kill sandwiched between a pair of kills from Schnelle.

Out of a timeout, Hope scored three straight points to cut the deficit to 20-18 before the Bears again had the answer in the form of a Schnelle kill and a Schaller ace to go back up 22-18 and force the final Hope timeout.

With the score 22-20 in favor of ONU, Guzik put up a monstrous block on the left side that sent a would-be Hope attack straight to the floor.

On the very next point, Schnelle and Berry put ONU's second straight block to give ONU set point at 24-20.

The Dutch scored once more but sailed the next attack wide right to end Set 1 25-21.

Hope captured the momentum early by earning leads of 6-3 and 9-5 in Set 2.

A Northern timeout at that point did nothing to stop the Dutch rally, as HC scored four more in a row to make the score 13-5 and cause the final ONU timeout of the set.

Hope scored another six straight to make the score 19-5 before finally serving the ball into the net.

However, Northern was able to play better down the stretch and end on a 9-6 run before falling 25-14 in Set 2.

Hope again controlled much of the beginning of Set 3, taking leads of 4-1, 9-6 and 12-8.

ONU battled back and eventually tied Set 3 at 17-17 after Berry ripped a kill cross court from the right side.

Both teams continued to side out from that point forward until Hope scored after a remarkable rally to take a 23-21 lead.

Hope score the next point on a kill from the right side before Schnelle answered to keep the Bears alive at 24-22, but Hope would score on the next serve to take Set 3 25-22.

Set 4 was another back-and-forth set with no team taking more than a two-point lead until the Dutch went up 17-14.

Hope built the lead to four on the next point, but Berry smashed another kill to bring it back to within three at 18-15.

The Dutch built a 23-16 before a Pruneski kill, but HC scored one more to make it match point.

Ohio Northern would get a few at the end, but Hope would end the match with a 25-20 Set 4 victory.

Hope will move on to the NCAA Championship hosted by John Carroll next Thursday - Saturday.