WILMINGTON, Ohio – Throughout the months of July and August, the Wilmington College Office of Athletic Communications, through the lens of Director Mitch Blankespoor, is going to revisit some of its favorite memories of each sport throughout the 2019-20 academic year.
Today's entry will be memories for the volleyball season. Click below to view past entries.
The 2019 volleyball season had its ups and downs under the direction of first-year Head Coach Andy Riesenberg. The two memories that stick out to me, coincidentally both ended in defeats, displayed the grit and tenacity that was WC volleyball in 2019.
The first memory involved the match with Earlham College in the #QuakerBowlRivalry match held on Sept. 10. Wilmington, which had lost seven straight matches to the fellow Quaker institution, was up against a team that made an appearance in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) Tournament title match a season ago.
The visitors started quickly, winning 9-of-12 points to begin the set and forcing Riesenberg to call an early timeout in what was his first home match coaching at Wilmington. The timeout seemed to halt Earlham's momentum and though a couple of EC attack errors and kills from Taylor McCuistion and Morgan Loomis, Wilmington tied the set 12-12.
Neither team led by more than two points until another McCuistion kill followed by an Adriana Middleton service ace gave the hosts a 20-17 lead. This time, however, it was Earlham's turn to call timeout and swing momentum around. Loomis and Summer Wilbur teamed up for a block six points later, but leading 23-20, the visitors rattled off three straight points to tie the set 23-23.
What followed was a back-and-forth set of points with each team having multiple chances to claim the set with a single point. Each time, however, the set continued with the last set point for Earlham ending on a bad set. With the score tied 27-27, a Jillian Wesco kill from the outside gave WC its third set point, and a service ace from Karley Schlensker that followed gave the hosts the first set 29-27.
Earlham took control of the match in the next two sets, taking a 2-1 lead. The fourth set was much like the first except for the outcome. With Earlham ahead 21-20 in set four, the visitors took four of the next five points for the victory.
The second memory is the final match of the season, senior day against John Carroll University on Nov. 2. Due to a couple of injuries, Wilmington had to play without a true setter. Jillian Wesco and Taylor McCuistion, two junior who graduated in three years and playing their final match, split the setting duties on that afternoon.
John Carroll won the match in straight sets, but Wesco and McCuistion both tallied double digits in assists and digs. Wesco also added a dozen kills while McCuistion finished with a .250 attack percentage.