(Defiance, Oh) Jacket Nation was in full force Wednesday night for senior night at the Karl H. Weaner Center with the HCAC champions, the Defiance Yellow Jackets (17-11, 8-1 HCAC), defending their home court against rival, Bluffton University (20-8, 7-2 HCAC). Bluffton would not allow DC to extend the HCAC regular season win streak to 19 games thought halting the streak at 18 in three sets.
Bluffton began the match with enthusiasm and ready to play. After Bluffton took a 6-1 lead to start the first set, Meredith Shank put down a big kill, her first of 6 in the set,, to halt the momentum of the Beavers. Bluffton would control much of the first set until the Jackets battled back to tie the game at 17-17.
Both teams would battle back and forth for the remainder of the 1st set trading points until Meredith Shank slammed back to back kills to give DC a 22-20 lead, but the Beavers did not let the lead last long. Bluffton rallied to make it 24-24, and both teams traded points until eventually the Bluffton Beavers took the set 28-26.
Bluffton came out in the second set with much of the same energy, storming to an early 7-2 lead that led to a DC timeout early in the set. Defiance would rally within striking distance of the Beavers cutting the lead to 8-6 after a 4-1 run, but the Jackets would never take control as Bluffton came back with a 10-4 run of their own to push the lead to 18-10. They would track a few more onto their lead and finish the match with a 10 point advantage 25-15.
The Jackets wouldn’t go down without a fight though trading points back and forth and taking a 5-4 lead early in the third set. That would be it for the Jackets though as Bluffton would take the lead and never look back taking the third and final set 25-19 to win the 3rd and final set of the match.
Bree Anderson and Meredith Shank would lead the Jackets in kills with 9 a piece and Alicia Kalik would lead the team in assists with 25.
The Jackets will host the HCAC Tournament on Saturday-Sunday, Nov. 8-9 after winning the regular season HCAC championship. The Jackets match time is still to be determined.