Fall sports winding down

Photo by Burton Andrews

By Alex Nibert


The Bluffton Volleyball team closed out its regular season at home on Sunday, hosting and defeating the Franklin College Grizzlies in straight sets at the Sommer Center. The final scores of each game were 26-24, 25-19 and 25-14.

Seniors Jenny Brown and Kendra Parmenter paced the Beavers attack, recording 14 and 12 kills respectively. MacKenzie McFarlin added 12 kills for the attack as well. Brown, Parmenter, and McFarlin combined for 38 of the team’s 52 kills in the contest. Sydney Mohler led the way defensively with 13 digs.

The first set was the closest of the three played, featuring several lead changes before Bluffton ultimately took the set 26-24 on a kill by Parmenter and an attack error by Franklin. The following sets were dominated by the Beavers, as they took an eight point lead in both the second and third sets and cruised to victory in each.

Bluffton finishes their season with a 17-12 overall record, but with an outstanding 8-1 mark in the Heartland Conference. Their conference record is good enough to lock up the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament next weekend, which will be hosted by Hanover. The volleyball team’s next game will be in the tournament on Saturday, November 7, where they’ll face either Manchester or Defiance.


The Bluffton Beavers football team suffered a heartbreaking loss at the hands of the Mount St. Joseph Lions on Saturday, falling 31-28 on the road.

Turnovers were the Achilles heel for the Beavers, as they surrendered the ball 4 times—all interceptions—which stole defeat from the jaws of victory and paved the way for Mount St. Joseph to come back from a 14 point deficit in the fourth quarter. The Lions scored 17 points in the fourth quarter, including the game winning field goal with eight seconds left in the contest.

Colby Speice was the quarterback for Bluffton with the loss of starter Connor Sheehan to a fractured foot. Speice struggled, completing 18 of 37 pass attempts for 265 yards, a touchdown, and four interceptions. The Bluffton offense largely ran through the rushing attack, where Dante Carroll and Dustin Fisher led the attack. Carroll had 13 carries for 57 yards, Fisher had 17 carries for 56 yards. Devante Thomas-Wright found the end zone twice on the ground, rushing nine times for 23 yards and two touchdowns. One other rusher of note was defensive end Ryan Aelker, who rushed once for 27 yards to further expand his utility role in the offense. The leading receiver was Micah Roberson once again, receiving eight passes for 101 yards. Raphael Dell caught two passes for 80 yards and a touchdown, and Lorenzo McLaurin received five passes for 66 yards for the Beavers.

The Beavers fell to 4-4 on the season and 3-3 in the Heartland Conference with the loss. The next game is Senior Day on November 7, against the Anderson University Ravens at home, the final home game for the Beavers this season. Kickoff is at 1:30 pm.


The Bluffton men’s soccer season came to an end on Saturday with a loss to Rose-Hulman on Saturday. The Beavers fell 2-0 to the Engineers, completing a winless campaign with a 0-15-2 record.

Rose took a lead just 10 minutes into the contest, a goal by Erik Eksten assisted by Dieter Schultz on a corner kick. That would be the game winner, but Rose added another goal in the 36th minute from Austin Webb to take a 2-0 lead. That’s all the scoring this game would see, as each goalie pitched a shutout in the second half.

Matt Hardman-Zimmerman was the goaltender for the Beavers, registering five saves in a losing effort. Carter Wright was the starter for Rose, making five saves before being replaced in the second half by Michael Lawrence, who stopped the only shot he faced.

Senior John Eckenrode was the team leader for goals this season, scoring five points and assisting on one more for the season. His five goals accounted for almost half of the team’s total, which was 11 goals scored in 17 games. Blake Drewes led the team in assists with 3.

Goalkeeper Chris Wagler, Eckenrode, defender Ryan Johnson-Evers, midfielder/forward Appiah Adubofour, defender/midfielder Adrian Ramirez, midfielder/forward Jake Headings, Drewes, and defender/midfielder Michael Ralph competed in their last game for the season and are set to graduate this year.


The Bluffton women’s soccer team finished their season on a tough note, as Rose-Hulman spoiled senior day on Saturday by taking a 5-0 win against the Beavers in the final game of the season.

Bluffton’s attack only tested Rose goaltender Lucinda Combs three times and Combs turned all three shots against her aside. Ashley Knippen was pierced for five goals against, in addition to seven saves, in a losing effort.

It took until the 25th minute for Rose to open the scoring, and the floodgates opened after that. Hayley Gilliam scored a natural hat trick in the first half for Rose, scoring in the 25th, 33rd, and 34th minutes to stake Rose to a 3-0 halftime lead. Rose added two more in the second half, scoring in the 67th minute and the 88th minute to seal the 5-0 victory.

Bluffton was heavily outshot during the contest, yielding 18 shot attempts (12 on goal) while only managing five attempts themselves (three on goal).

This loss pushed the Beavers record down to 7-11 to finish the season, 3-6 in the conference. Unfortunately that wasn’t good enough to make the tournament, so the season is now over.

Three players will graduate this year from the women’s soccer team: defender Sarah Lawrence, defender Marisa Aguilar and goalkeeper Ashley Knippen.

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