Women’s volleyball hosts Holiday Inn Classic I

By James Stein Sep 17, 2021

From September 10-11, Illinois Wesleyan women’s volleyball played host to Earlham College, Monmouth College, Ohio Northern University, and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in the two-day, four-match Holiday Inn Classic I. The Titans started strong with a 3-0 win against Monmouth but were ultimately shut down against Ohio Northern (3-2), Earlham (3-1), and Rose-Hulman (3-0). 


The first match against Monmouth resulted in a three-set sweep. Senior Courtney McAuliffe led a steady offense with the team-high of eight kills, flanked by freshman Morgan Harrignton with seven, sophomore Taylor Babec with six and an additional six kills from junior Grace Sanders. Also in the mix was freshman Ava Porada who dominated 17 assists and four aces, breaking her own collegiate record. 


Senior Amber Juarez and junior Evy Makris protected the Titans from the Scots with an impressive 16 digs from Juarez and four blocks from Makris. In tow was Sanders with one ace, McAuliffe with two blocks and Babec with one. 


In the next match against Ohio Northern, the Titans kept the Polar Bears on their toes with a heavy-handed five sets. McAuliffe’s match-high of 15 kills was followed closely by sophomore Maddie Dryfhout with 14, Sanders with 11, and Harrington with 10. Dryfhout and Sanders pulled through with double-doubles with more than 10 digs apiece. Also fighting against ONU were senior Madi Corey, sophomore Faith Washko, Porada, and Juarez.


Corey led the pack with 29 assists, 14 digs, and four aces. By her side were Porada with 20 assists and 19 digs, Washko with 11 digs, and Juarez with 19. Despite the effort from the Green-and-White, Ohio Northern was still able to pull out a 3-2 victory by the end of the first day. 


September 12 brought the second day of the Holiday Inn Classic I and matches against Earlham and Rose-Hulman. 


The Titans’ opening set against Earlham brought the heat. Porada broke her own career-high with 29 assists, which allowed Corey to send 10 kills, Makris eight, and Dryfhout seven. Juarez led with 17 digs, followed by Dryfhout with 12 digs and senior Jessica McCall with 10. Even with IWU’s efforts, the Earlham Quakers took down the Titans with a .201 hitting percentage and a final score of 3-1. 


In the fourth and final match of the tournament, Wesleyan took on Rose-Hulman. Freshman Cierra Gardner-Gist scored a team-high nine kills alongside Makris and Harrison with five each. Juarez defended the Titans by tallying 10 digs and Porada had the only double-double of the match with 11 assists and 13 digs. The efforts proved futile by the end of the match as the Fightin’ Engineers swept all three sets. 


The Illinois Wesleyan women’s volleyball team will return to action in Elmhurst, IL in their CCIW opener against Elmhurst College on Wednesday, September 15 at 5:00.

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