Volleyball Falls in Tourney Finale to Dayton
Claire Gerwig tied her career-high with 15 kills to lead the Broncos, while Stephenee Yancy posted 12 kills and hit a team-best .320 to go with a team-high six blocks. Rachel Sheffer added 14 kills, a career-high nine digs, and four blocks, while senior libero Lena Oliver had a match-high 21 digs. Lexie Pawlik had her third double-double of the season with 54 assists and a career-best 17 digs, and Caroline Rose also broke double-digits in digs with 12.
The Broncos’ best set of the night was the third, as WMU battled back from an 18-11 deficit to stun the Flyers and extend the match to the fourth set. The Flyers came out red-hot to start the set and looked to wrap things up neatly, but the Broncos were not interested in backing down. Gerwig got things moving with a kill to bring the Broncos to 18-12, and Pawlik followed up with an ace to start turning the momentum. Gerwig forced a Flyer timeout with a kill to make it 18-15, and Alysia Baznik and Ave Stout capped the 5-0 run with a block on the next point. Baznik and Yancy cut the lead to three points again with a block to make it 22-19, and Sheffer sliced it to two points with a down line tip kill.
Dayton held set point at 24-22 after scoring on a Bronco attack error, but Yancy pounded a kill in the middle to stave off elimination, and Baznik added one on the next point to tie the set at 24-24. The teams traded points back and forth until Gerwig gave the Broncos the upper hand for good, going through the block on the left side for the kill to make it 28-27. The Flyers sealed their own fate with an attack error, giving the Broncos a 29-27 set win and new life in the match.
The fourth set very nearly turned the Broncos’ way as well, with WMU taking a lead midway through the set on another block. The tandem of Yancy and Sheffer shut down Shayne Brown’s attack to give WMU the lead at 11-10, and Yancy would rip a kill two points later to extend the Broncos’ lead to 13-10 and force a Dayton timeout. Sheffer gave the Broncos their largest lead of the set with a kill at 15-11, but the Flyers chipped away and ultimately re-took the lead at 18-17 on a Bronco attack error. Dayton closed the set on a 10-4 run to salt away the win for the Flyers.
The first two sets of the match were just as close as the final two, as the Flyers couldn’t convincingly put away the Broncos in either set despite winning both. WMU led late in the first set at 20-19 on a Gerwig kill and trailed by just one point near the end, at 23-22, before the Flyers put it away for the 25-22 win. The Broncos led 17-10 in the second set before the Flyers came storming back, closing the set on a 15-5 run to win by an identical 25-22 score.