BLUFFTON, Ohio – Playing in a rare Friday night Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) contest, the Franklin College volleyball team took on Bluffton University for the first of their final two road matches of the year.
The Grizzlies (10-13, 0-7 HCAC) fell victim to a relentless Bluffton (15-10, 5-2 HCAC) squad that would take the match in straight sets, 25-11, 25-14, 25-21.
The first two sets were decided by two lengthy Bluffton runs that put the hosts up 2-0. Game one saw the Beavers close out the set by recording 13 of the final 16 points, while the second set opened with Bluffton taking 10 of the first 12 points en route to another set win.
Game three saw the Beavers jump out to an early lead and they looked ready to put the match away when the hosts held an 18-13 lead. But Franklin showed no quit with their backs against the wall, coming back to even things up with a 5-0 run. The Grizzlies would show resilience down the stretch, but the Beavers would close out the match by taking seven of the final 10 points.
Eight different Grizzlies finished with at least one kill on the night. Amanda Lelivelt led all Franklin attackers with seven kills and a .333 hitting percentage. Lelivelt would match Avery Sparks for the most blocks on the team with three assisted rejections on the night.
Nico Morris finished with a team-high 15 assists for the Grizzlies while Carrigan Peak handed out eight helpers and had a team-leading two service aces. Libby Stahl paced the defense with 21 assists while Sarah Labra reached double-figures with 11 digs.
Bluffton's offense was led by Bethany Martini's 15 kills, as the Beavers finished the night with a .236 attacking percentage.
Franklin will play their final road match of the year this coming Wednesday (Oct. 25) night, taking on the Hanover Panthers at 7:00 p.m. in Hanover, Ind.