LINDSBORG — The Ottawa University women’s volleyball program is not used to losing many conference matches under coach Melissa Blessington.
In fact, Ottawa has won right at 90% of its matches against KCAC foes during her previous five years, including starting the season 2-0 in 2019.
The Lady Braves needed a spark Saturday in Lindsborg to keep that unbeaten record intact. Ottawa fell to Bethany in the first two sets. Ottawa rediscovered its level of play to sweep the final three sets for a 3-2 victory (20-25, 14-25, 25-21, 25-23, 15-8).
It was a slow start. Bethany led 14-9 in the first set. Ottawa did come within 19-18, but Bethany closed the set winning six of the final eight points.
The second set was all Bethany and Ottawa was staring at 2-0 hole.
The Lady Braves responded as they took an early 7-4 lead. Ottawa led 11-8 when Bethany got on a run to take a 15-12 lead. The Lady Braves turned the momentum around, rallying for a 20-17 lead and cruised to the victory.
In the fourth set, it was back-and-forth with Ottawa getting the final push. Bethany came back to forge a 23-22 lead, but Ottawa stayed alive with a kill from Caitlyn Cox and back-to-back aces to force a fifth set.
Ottawa jumped to a 10-3 lead in the fifth set.
The Lady Braves finished with 53 kills, a .161 attacking percentage, 49 assists, 10 service aces, 65 digs, and 16 team blocks.
Ayona Tharps led Ottawa with 18 kills. She also had eight block assists. Makayla Aspegren finished with 12 kills. She had a .429 attacking percentage, and nine blocks. Allison Bauer led Ottawa with 23 assists and had eight digs. Heather Huesman finished with 11 digs and Christa Todd had 10 digs.
The Braves (13-7, 3-0) will play McPherson College (11-7, 3-1), the defending KCAC regular-season champions, at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Wilson Field House.