Team posts .458 clip, eight errors as mentor defeats pupil
GOSHEN, Ind. — The Goshen College volleyball team posted its best hitting percentage in at least a decade and its most lopsided set win in two years in a straight-set victory over Anderson University on Tuesday night in Gunden Gymnasium. The Maple Leafs won 25-8, 25-20, 25-20.
The number for which the history books will remember that match, however, was 99.83 percent complete before the first serve and stretches back more than halfway to the program’s 1970 inception: the win was head coach Jim Routhier’s 600th victory between high school and college.
Buoyed by three straight aces from Jennifer Ritchie, Goshen used a 12-1 run to take control of the first set, winning 15 of the last 17 points. Anderson took its first lead at 7-6 in the second stanza before a 7-3 Maple Leaf spurt gave the hosts a lead they wouldn’t relinquish, while the third set reached 8-8 before an 11-3 GC run.
Goshen (6-4) racked up 41 winners against eight errors for a hitting percentage of .458, more than 20 points higher than a 2009 win over Marygrove that had stood as the highest in Routhier’s tenure. Freshman Natalie Omtvedt led the team with eight kills while Meghan Gerke and Darienne Maust finished with seven each: Gerke led all players with an .875 efficiency at the net.
“We talked this week about playing to our level and no one else’s, then went out and did that,” Routhier said. “This team doesn’t show fear, whether we’re winning big or losing big.”
Christy Swartzendruber led all players with 12 digs while Raven setter Sydney Coffman had a match-high 28 assists. Teammate Shannon Kirkey led all players with 10 winners. After a first set with as many kills as errors, the Ravens (2-3) hit .303 with 25 kills in the final two periods.
Goshen finished the match with seven aces from five players and 10 team blocks. Maust and Sydney Cruz each had solo stuffs and were among the quartet that finished with two blocks each.
Routhier, who spent 22 seasons at Concord High School before coming to GC in 2009, earned his milestone win against one of his former pupils. Tami Miller, the 15th-year head coach at Anderson, played for him at Concord from 1984-87 and selected Routhier to present her at Miller’s 2016 induction into the Concord athletic hall of fame. Routhier went into the same hall of fame in 1997.
The Maple Leafs finish a two-match homestand Friday before hitting the road for eight of their next 10 matches. Goshen hosts Bethel at 7 p.m. on “Blackout Night” in Gunden Gymnasium.
Goshen College is an affordable, nationally-ranked Christian liberal arts college in Northern Indiana known for leadership in intercultural and international education, sustainability and social justice.
The Maple Leafs compete in 13 varsity sports in the NAIA’s highly competitive Crossroads League, continuing a tradition of intercollegiate athletics that dates to 1956 and included women’s competition nearly a decade before Title IX. For more information on GC athletics, visit www.GoLeafs.net and follow the Maple Leafs on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @GCMapleLeafs.