By Alex Nibert
Volleyball continues hot streak
The Bluffton volleyball team continued its hot streak this week, defeating Denison College in straight sets and then starting the conference schedule in style by destroying Rose-Hulman in straight sets.
The Beavers crushed Denison 25-15, 25-13, and 25-17 to earn their eighth win of the season Thursday night. Jenny Brown and MacKenzie McFarlin were tied with the team lead in kills, each with 13 for the evening. Kendra Parmenter added nine kills of her own to help pace the Beavers attack. Sydney Mohler had 10 digs to lead the team in that category. Brown also led the team in blocks with five, followed by Lauren Weisgarber with four and three other Beavers with three.
Saturday at Rose-Hulman, the Beavers asserted their dominance 25-16, 25-22, 25-14. Brown led the team in kills with 14 to pace the Beaver attack. Weisgarber had eight and MacFarlin had seven. Mohler continued to lead the team in digs, adding 13 more to her total.
The volleyball team is now 9-6 for the season, 1-0 in the conference, and continues their schedule with two matches this week. First is a conference match against Earlham on Thursday, Sept. 30, at 7 p.m. in Sommer Center. Saturday, Oct. 3, is another home match against the Goshen (Ind.) College Maple Leafs, scheduled for a 1 p.m. start.
Women’s soccer sits at 4-5
The Bluffton women’s soccer team moved to 4-5 with an overtime loss Tuesday to Heidelberg. The Beavers entered the match following a win on Saturday, where they Ohio Christian on its home turf by a score of 2-1.
Ashley Keller scored both goals, and Ashley Knippen was in the goal for the Beavers. Knippen was near perfect in net, allowing just one goal on 14 shots against her, a .928 save percentage.
Bluffton opened the scoring in the 38th minute, an unassisted marker from Keller that found the back of the net, her fourth of the season. The beavers were up 1-0 at halftime, despite being outshot 11-4 in the opening half. The game continued in the same way, as Keller buried another goal in the 75th minute, her fifth of the year, assisted by Beth Snyder. Ohio Christian ruined the shutout bid on a penalty kick in the 84th minute, but that was all for the scoring and Bluffton escaped with a 2-1 win despite being outshot 19-8 for the game.
The Beavers upcoming games are at Heidelberg on Tuesday, Sept. 29, followed by a home tilt and conference opener against the Hanover Panthers at 1 pm on Saturday, Oct. 3.
Men’s soccer falls to 0-7 on season
The Men’s soccer team fell to 0-7 on the season Saturday, falling 3-2 to Ohio Christian University.
John Eckenrode and Blake Drewes were the goal scorers for the Beavers. Matt Hardman-Zimmerman was the goaltender for the Beavers, making seven saves but allowing three goals in 90 minutes.
The scoring was opened in the fifth minute on an own goal that gave Ohio Christian a 1-0 lead. That lead was extended to two just three minutes later, as Alex Martstiller beat Hardman-Zimmerman with the assist from Jon-Eric Stiles. The rest of the half went scoreless and it was 2-0 at the intermission. Bluffton got one back in the 54th minute on Eckenrode’s fourth goal of the year, assisted by Drewes. Ohio Christian had the answer for that too, as they made it 3-1 in the 62nd minute on a penalty kick by Josh Liedtke. Drewes scored in the 89th minute to make it 3-2, his first of the season assisted by Eckenrode, but it was too little and too late for the Beavers as they took their seventh straight loss.
The Beavers next games are home games: Wednesday, Sept. 30, against Cleary at 4 p.m. and the conference opener Saturday, Oct. 3, against the Hanover Panthers at 3:30 p.m.
Football loses to Franklin 49-31
The Bluffton University Football team lost arguably the biggest conference game on their schedule other than Defiance on Saturday, falling to the Franklin College Grizzlies 49-31 at Alumni Field at Salzman Stadium.
The Beavers took the lead early after forcing a turnover, but Franklin was able to bounce back and answer every Bluffton score. It was 27-17 for the Grizzlies at halftime, but the Beavers narrowed the deficit to three on their first drive of the third quarter, a drive capped off by an 18-yard touchdown pass from Colby Spiece to Micah Roberson. Bluffton allowed a field goal with 6:34 remaining in the quarter, and the 30-24 score held until the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter saw Franklin score 19 straight points in 11 minutes, a 55 yard touchdown pass from Chase Burton to Lee Wroblewski, a 65 yard touchdown run by Ty’Ronte Files that saw him escape several tackles in the middle before breaking outside, and a 25 yard touchdown pass from Burton to Mason Deal, which extended Franklin’s lead to 49-24 with 4:20 remaining. The Beavers scored their final touchdown of the game with 12 seconds left, an eight yard pass from Connor Sheehan to Roberson, but the outcome of the game was decided long before then.
Devante Thomas-Wright led the rushing attack for the Beavers last Saturday with 19 carries for 108 yards. Connor Sheehan was the primary quarterback, completing 21 of 33 passes for 221 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. Colby Spiece also completed four out of eight passes for 41 yards and a touchdown. Micah Roberson caught 12 passes for 143 yards and was the recipient of all three Beavers passing touchdowns.
Though the loss to the Grizzlies was frustrating, a close game that was blown open in the 4th quarter when Franklin outscored Bluffton 19-7, the Beavers are moving on to their next opponent, the Hanover College Panthers.
“Take away a few of their big plays in the fourth quarter and that game was a lot closer,” said junior defensive back Robbie Massing. “We were in it. But it doesn’t matter anymore. All that matters now is beating Hanover next Saturday.”