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February 25, 2021

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Bluffton takes big step toward Heartland VB tourney berth

The Bluffton University volleyball team took a huge step toward earning a berth in the four-team Heartland Conference tournament on Wednesday, Feb. 17, when the Beavers routed rival Defiance in straight sets! Bluffton pounded the Yellow Jackets (17-16-18) while improving to 5-3 in the HCAC.

Bluffton opened a commanding 20-12 advantage in the opening set and closed out the 25-17 victory with a kill by sophomore Kaylie Campbell (Camden/Preble Shawnee). After trailing 3-2 in set two, Bluffton rolled off 10 of the next 12 points for a 12-6 lead. Kia Rainey (Adrian, MI/Madison) and Elle Price (Findlay) combined for nine serves as the visitors opened a 23-12 lead en route to a 25-16 win and 2-0 edge in the match. Price and Brooke Kleman (Glandorf/Ottawa-Glandorf) served the Beavers to a sweep as Bluffton downed DC 25-18 in the clincher!

Senior Remi Bower (Deshler/Patrick Henry) stuffed the stat sheet with a match-high 14 kills, 10 digs and two aces. Junior Cassie Mladek (Coshocton/ Ridgewood) continued her superb play with seven kills against just one error for a red-hot .375 hitting percentage.

Price and Noel Ufferman (Marysville/Fairbanks) doled out 17 and 13 digs, respectively. Kleman led the back row with 16 digs and she also rifled three aces from the service line. Junior Cassidy Posey (Paulding) stuffed her former teammates with three blocks, while sophomore Courtney Weekley (Butler/Clear Fork) picked up eight digs for the victors.

Match two saw the Beavers dig a 2-0 hole before Coach Yarnell re-inserted his cavalry back into the action. That was all she wrote as Bluffton rolled off the final three sets on the way to a 14-7 season mark.

Bower again led the way, ramming home 13 kills over the final three sets. She needed just 25 swings and hit a ridiculous .440 with only two errors. The standout senior also chipped in with 11 pickups. Price and Ufferman combined for 27 assists, while Kleman and Caitlyn Renner (Cairo/Bath) came up with 13 and 11 digs, respectively.

Bower and Kleman served up three aces apiece for the winning squad from Allen County, while Posey and Alysha Like (McComb) both stuffed the Jackets with four blocks. Mladek added nine kills in the non-conference contest.

Bluffton will wrap up its unusual regular season that has spanned over six months when the Beavers welcome Rose-Hulman on Saturday, Feb. 20. It will be one match only and the conference contest is slated to start at 3 p.m. on Saturday.