Grand Rapids, MI – The Wittenberg women's volleyball team made their 23rd consecutive NCAA DIII Volleyball Tournament appearance on Thursday afternoon, taking on the Muskies from Muskingum University. The Tiger's fell 3-1 in the first-round match-up of the NCAA DIII Tournament [25-21, 21-25, 23-25, 17-25]. Wittenberg recorded a .083 kill percentage on the day, as Katie Hiestand and Paige Kucinic each put down double-digit kills for the Red and White. For three Wittenberg senior's Sarah Auble, Aubrey Cox and Taylor Yontz, the NCAA Tournament trip marks another historic moment, making the program's 25th appearance at the national tournament. The final game of the season also means the last time for putting on a Wittenberg jersey. All three have made their mark in Wittenberg history, as Auble has been part of two NCAC Championship teams, with two NCAA Tournament appearances. Cox began her career with an NCAC Newcomer of the Year Award in 2016 and would later become the first-ever four-time women's volleyball All-NCAC First Team honoree. Taylor Yontz follows a line of great Tigers, becoming the third Wittenberg player to earn back-to-back NCAC Libero of the Year honors.
Wittenberg wraps up the season with a record of 15-12 and 8-0 in NCAC action.
The Tigers took the first point of the match, coming off a kill from Cox right past the Muskie defense. The two sides went back and forth through the early going trading points, and the Red and White took a 7-5 advantage. The Tigers extended their lead out to 12-9, coming off a Hiestand kill. Kucinic added to the Tiger lead taking the Tiger lead out to 14-11 after an intense rally ended with a point in favor of Wittenberg. Wittenberg held a 15-13 lead at the first timeout of the match. Wittenberg was forced to fend off a late Muskingum attack down the stretch, claiming the first set 25-21. Wittenberg came back in the second set, as Kucinic helped bring the Tiger advantage to 3-2 after Muskingum took an early 2-0 lead to start. Wittenberg tallied three in a row to bring the match back to even for a second time at 8-8, taking advantage of a Muskingum attack error. The two teams battled it out at 14-14 and once again at 19-19, Wittenberg was unable to close out the second set with Muskingum taking the second set 25-21. Wittenberg would not go down without a fight, trading points with Muskingum through the early going of the third set. The scoreboard kept going back to tie as neither side could find the advantage, Muskingum took a slight lead at 12-9. Wittenberg would rally back to bring the set back to even at 18-18 with an ace from Lexie Weithman. Wittenberg was within one when Auble put down a Kill with the assist from Yontz, but Muskingum would convert the final two points to take the set. Muskingum would take the early advantage in the fourth set, keeping the Wittenberg attack from gaining any momentum.