WESTERVILLE, Ohio—#3 Wittenberg women's volleyball defeated #19 Juniata 3-1 as the Tigers advanced to the NCAA Regional Championship. Now sitting at 24-2 overall in 2017, the Tiger will await the winner of Ohio Northern and Otterbein. The Tigers advanced to the regional championship round for the seventh time in the last eight years.
HOW IT HAPPENED: Wittenberg made quick work of Juniata in the first set, disposing of the Eagles 25-10, as the Eagles came roaring back in set number two to dispatch the Tigers 25-13. With things knotted up at 1-1, Wittenberg put together two complete sets to finish out the match, sending Juniata home with a set three win at 25-23 and a set four win at 25-21. In a hard-fought match from both teams, the Tigers and Eagles both were as advertised in one of the best rivalries that NCAA Division III has to offer.
WHO STOOD OUT: Taylor Brown finished one dig shy of a double-double, as the junior totaled ten kills and nine digs in the match to lead the Tigers. Whenever the Tigers needed a big kill, the reigning NCAC Player of the Year was there to do just that, as Maddie Fischer recorded six kills, eight digs and six service aces. Karen Wildemann was all over the court as usual for the Tigers, as the all-region setter totaled 28 assists in a match that saw the Tigers hit .129 as a team.
WHAT'S IT MEAN: The Tigers improve to 14-4 overall in NCAA second round matches, and to 12-13 overall against the Eagles of Juniata. Wittenberg now awaits the winner of two of the best teams that the OAC boasts; Otterbein and Ohio Northern. Both in and out of the AVCA rankings in 2017, the Tigers defeated Ohio Northern on September 16 earlier in the season. Wittenberg did not play Otterbein in 2017, but the Tigers did dispose of the Cardinals in 2016 at Pam Evans Smith Arena, as the Tigers came out on top 3-0. An Otterbein win over Ohio Northern would setup a matchup between the AVCA Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year, Monica Wright, who graduated from Wittenberg in 2005 after blossoming into a two-time All American outside hitter under Coach Labrador's tutelage. Wittenberg is 7-6 all-time in Regional Championship games, as well as 28-31 all-time against Ohio Northern and 27-7 against Otterbein.
NEXT MATCH: Wittenberg will play for the Regional Championship Sunday at 2PM at Otterbein University. Links will be provided by Otterbein, but can also be found on Wittenbergtigers.com.