NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – Manchester University honored its three-member Class of 2018 with a gritty, determined effort against perennial Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference power Bluffton University Wednesday, Oct. 25.
The Spartans, despite falling to 11-11 overall and 2-7 in the conference, gave the Beavers (16-10, 6-2 HCAC) all they could handle for a nearly two-hour battle in front of almost 300 rapt fans at Stauffer-Wolfe Arena. They battled through a back-and-forth first set, bringing the crowd to its feet with some late points to ensure a 25-23 victory and giving the visitors pause at seeking a 10th straight win in the series. After BU erupted offensively in set two to the tune of a .205 attack percentage to claim a 25-17 decision, it was a neck-and-neck third set that the Beavers claimed 25-22. Coach Bryndon Paulsen's side appeared on the verge of a fifth-set decider, leading 16-9 at one point in the fourth game, but Bluffton patiently whittled away at the lead and overcame their hosts 25-20.
Junior right side hitter Haley Duncan (Albion, Ind.) bashed eight kills and added an assisted block to highlight the Black and Gold numbers. The trio of junior middle hitters Emma Voelker (North Bend, Ohio) and Hannah Tevis (Royal Center, Ind.) along with sophomore outside hitter Emma DeWitt (Brookston, Ind.) added six kills apiece. Among the individuals stepping on to the Stan Weller Court honoring Coaches Hoffman and Wolfe for the final time in match play, sophomore middle hitter Riley Patterson (Walkerton, Ind.) contributed seven kills, a .211 attack percentage, and three blocks. Senior outside hitters Brandy Whitaker (Monrovia, Ind.) and Ally Roskos (Elkhart, Ind.) also saw match time with starts along with Patterson, as Roskos delivered ten digs.
Manchester University closes its 2017 season with a non-conference trip to St. Mary's College of Indiana Saturday, Oct. 28. First serve is 1 p.m.