Eash, Vanitvelt lead Leafs in blocks but hitters prevail

ANDERSON, Ind. — Elizabeth Breckbill and Hallie Vanitvelt paced the Goshen College women’s volleyball team with eight kills apiece while Vanitvelt and Eash led the team in blocks as the Maple Leafs dropped a three-set decision to Anderson University on Tuesday.

Kylie Osborne picked up 16 kills for the Ravens in a 25-22, 25-13, 25-23 win on their home floor at O.C. Lewis Gymnasium. The hosts achieved 13 or more kills in all three sets.

Goshen (6-5) racked up 14 kills and a .407 hitting percentage in the first set, a back-and-forth stanza that saw neither team muster a three-point lead until Anderson went up 20-17. The Ravens (3-2) hit .423 in the set, getting 16 kills overall and two from Osborne to close things out.

Breckbill picked up a winner to start the second before Anderson reeled off seven of the next eight points for a 7-2 lead. The hosts finished with 14 spikes and a .464 hitting percentage, picking up where they had left off before the three-minute intermission, while the Maple Leafs accumulated seven hitting errors.

The third set was far more like the first than the second with both teams hitting .200 or better, but the Ravens again took an early lead behind kills from Osborne and Kylie Rice. Goshen came back to tie the set six times between 6-all and 12-all, even taking the lead at 7-6. Two more winners from Osborne would spark a 6-2 run, however, as AU took an 18-14 lead and never let Goshen back within two points.

The Maple Leafs, who were restricted to 15 subs per set under NCAA rules (the NAIA permits unlimited substitution), finished the match with 28 digs to Anderson’s 36. Jennifer Ritchie led GC with 8 digs, two more than MacKinnon Tracy, but Anderson’s Brooke Troyer led all players with 12.

GC hit .234 on 35 kills compared to Anderson’s .376 and 43 winners. The Ravens finished with three blocks, all solos, to Goshen’s one. Shelbey Younts outdid Naomi Willis by one, 13-12, to lead GC in assists: Courtney Marchello led all players with 22.

The match marked the ninth straight year that Goshen and Anderson have met on the volleyball court, but the two head coaches go back far farther: AU’s Tami Miller played for GC’s Jim Routhier at Concord High School, where both Routhier and Miller are members of the CHS Hall of Fame. The two schools were also opponents in the Hoosier Conference for Women from 1985-91.

Goshen, which drops to 6-5 this season, returns to conference play at Bethel at 7 p.m. Friday before hosting a tri-match with Siena Heights and IU South Bend on Saturday.