OU coach Blessington reaches milestone

The Herald Staff

Ottawa University volleyball coach Melissa Blessington elevated the volleyball program to one of the best in the NAIA.

In her previous six seasons, she guided Ottawa to three KCAC regular-season championships, four KCAC Tournament championships, five NAIA National Tournament appearances, and four NAIA Final Site appearances.

Blessington has an overall record of 178-71 and a KCAC mark of 100-11 after Saturday’s sweep of Sterling and York. She is the first volleyball coach in program history to win 100 KCAC matches.

Ottawa swept Sterling (27-25, 25-23, 25-22) and York (25-19, 25-16, 25-15). Ottawa has won 16 straight matches over Sterling and 24 straight sets.

Ottawa won key points in each set against Sterling. In the first set, Sterling led 25-24, but Ottawa scored three straight points to win the set.

Sterling led the second set 23-20 when Ottawa made a late charge, winning the final five points.

Sterling stayed close in the third set, but could not wrestle the lead away from Ottawa.

Ottawa finished with 52 kills, a .229 attacking percentage, 50 assists, four service aces, 77 digs, and two team blocks

Ayona Tharps led Ottawa with 17 kills and a .469 attacking percentage. Katelyn Elstun finished with 14 kills and nine digs.

Ottawa controlled all three sets against York to give Blessington her 100th KCAC victory.

Ottawa had 45 kills, a .327 attacking percentage, 42 assists, four service aces, 53 digs, and four team blocks.

Katelyn Elstun and Ryleigh Burdick led the Ottawa attack. Elstun had 13 kills and a .429 attacking percentage. Burdick finished with 11 kills and a .435 attacking percentage.

Ottawa (8-2, 5-0) plays 7 p.m. Wednesday against Bethany in Wilson Field House.