By Nicholas Huenefeld/Owens Sports Information
Wisconsin Dells, Wis.---The No. 9 Owens Community College women's volleyball team came from behind to win the first two sets of the day en route to a pair of three set wins over Waubonsee Community College and Highland Community College - Illinois to open their 2015 regular season in the Battle for the Dells.
Match 1 - Owens d. Waubonsee 25-22, 25-22, 25-16
The Owens offense struggled to get its offense going early on as they posted .094 and .029 hitting percentages in the first two sets. In the first set, they saw themselves in a 17-10 deficit. The second set also required a large comeback to net the win. In the third set, however, the duo of Erika Hartings (Coldwater/Coldwater, Ohio) and Macy Reigelsperger (Coldwater/Coldwater, Ohio) produced seven kills on zero errors to finish off Waubonsee in much cleaner and less stressful fashion.
In the third set, Owens had 11 kills, only one error and a .435 hitting percentage. Brooke Gyori (Clay/Oregon, Ohio) and Christine Tylutki (Monroe/Monroe, Mich.) also chipped in four digs apiece in the set.
Overall, Hartings produced a team-high eight kills, while Taylor Purcell (Bedford/Temperance, Mich.) produced a solid seven kills on only two errors (.417 hitting percentage). Reigelsperger added five kills overall, with three coming in the third set.
Gyori produced her first of back-to-back double-digit dig totals to open her collegiate career. The defensive specialist totaled a team-high 10 digs along with three assists. She tied three other teammates with a team-high one ace. Tylutki finished just behind her in digs with nine, while Ally Mikesell (St. Henry/St. Henry, Ohio) added six.
Aside from Gyori, Tylutki, Miranda Johnson (Whiteford/Ottawa Lake, Mich.) and Mikesell each added one service ace apiece. Deanna Smith (Riverview/Riverview, Mich.) and Tylutki added 12 and 10 assists, respectively, as they combined for 22 of the team's 26 assists.
At the net, the team combined for three solo blocks and 24 assisted blocks. Hartings (6), Mikesell (5), Reigelsperger (4), Tyanna Smith (Bowling Green/Bowling Green, Ohio) (4) and Abigail Hesselschwardt (Otsego/Grand Rapids, Ohio) (4) totaled 23 of the 24, while Mikesell, Reigelsperger and Purcell each had one assisted block.
Match 2: Owens d. Highland CC - Illinois 25-11, 25-17, 25-9
The second match flowed much smoother for Owens as they jumped out to a 16-6 lead in the first set and cruised to another three set win in their second match of the day.
Gyori (18 digs) and Reigelsperger (10 digs) buoyed a strong defensive effort as Owens produced 52 digs as a team. At the net, Purcell (3), Reigelsperger (2) and Tyanna Smith (2) had seven of the team's eight blocks.
Offensively, Hartings had her first double digit kill total of her sophomore season with a team-high 10, while Purcell added seven. Deanna Smith (16) and Tylutki (13) had 29 of the team's 31 assists to set up the offense.
After having three more service errors than aces in the first match as a team, Owens had 15 service aces compared to just four errors against Highland. Gyori led the way with five, while Mikesell, Hartings and Reigelsperger each had three.
Purcell was highly efficient in both matches as the sophomore produced 14 kills on only three errors for a .423 hitting percentage on the first day of the season. The next most efficient player was Tyanna Smith, who had five kills and one error for a .308 hitting percentage.
On the first day, Owens produced 91 digs and 19 blocks (3.17/set) to help make up for a sluggish day hitting. Gyori (28) leads four players with at least 10 digs through two matches.
Owens (2-0) will finish out play in the Battle for the Dells with two matches tomorrow. At 10 a.m., they will take on Indian Hills Community College before facing Carl Sandburg College at 12 p.m. We will post score updates on our Twitter page (@owensexpress).