(Defiance, OH) After a game delay due to a bus breakdown match one of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament was able to begin at 3pm on November 8th, 2014. The first match was Defiance College (8-1) against Franklin College (5-4), the second match was Bluffton University (7-2) against Hanover College (6-3) and the Championship match would be played November 9th with the winners of each of the first two matches.
The Yellow Jackets came out slow the first set against the Grizzlies but were able to pull out the win 25-21. The second set the Jackets came out strong winning by eight points. In the final set, the Grizzlies fought back from a large deficit to bring the set within two points but the Yellow Jackets achieved the win to send them to the Championship match. Bree Anderson had 18 out of the 47 team kills for the match.
The second semi-final match, the #2 seed, Bluffton, played the #3 seed, Hanover. The first set was a continuous back-and-forth game with the Beavers winning 26-24. The Panthers came firing back in the second set, pushing ahead six points but couldn’t maintain the lead allowing Bluffton to win. In the final set, the Beavers defeated the Panthers 25-16, pushing them to the championship match to play Defiance.
The two teams fighting for the Conference Championship title hold the oldest rivalry in the HCAC. Last year, Defiance clinched the conference title at Bluffton but then Bluffton won the conference tournament at Defiance. This season, in their last conference game, Bluffton beat Defiance in three sets. The intensity of this match, between these two rival teams, filled up the entire atmosphere while Defiance and Bluffton fought for the title.
In the first set, after a long back-and-forth exchange of points, Bluffton won 25-23. The second was the same as the first except the Yellow Jackets were victorious, winning 25-22. With Defiance shooting ahead six points in the third set the outlook looked bright, but the Beavers closed the gap and won by six points. In a heartbreaking fourth set, Defiance came out fighting but struggled to keep ahead, allowing Bluffton to give one final push to clinch the championship by winning 25-21.
Defiance finished the season 8-1 in the conference with an overall record of 18-12. They finished as conference champions for the second year in a row and runner up in the conference tournament.
Seniors Alicia Kalik and Bree Anderson received All-Tournament Team. Senior Caroline Hesterman had 506 digs in her career. Bree Anderson recorded a total of 826 kills in her career. With 293 kills this year, she hit a career best .243% this season. Alicia Kalik remains the all-time leader in assists with 3,731 as well as 908 digs and over 100 service aces.