SPRINGFIELD, OHIO-- #11 Wittenberg women's volleyball squared off against the #2 team in the land, Emory, on Saturday. In front of a restless crowd in Pam Evans Smith Arena, the Tigers pulled off the upset in dramatic fashion. After gaining a 23-20 lead in set number one, Wittenberg allowed Emory to climb back and win the first set, and then the second set. Down two sets to none, Wittenberg rattled off three straight set victories to upset the Eagles.
HOW IT HAPPENED: Wittenberg came out swinging, recording 15 kills in their first 21 points in set number one, but faded through the last five points, allowing Emory to take a one set lead. Set two was all Emory, as a late comeback by Wittenberg saw the Tigers fall 25-23. Set three and four were all about the Tigers, as Haley Horner was an unstoppable force for Wittenberg in just her second collegiate match. Horner recorded key point after key point for Wittenberg, as the Tigers blew by Emory 25-16 in set number four. The Tigers momentum carried through the remainder of the match, as the Tigers jumped out to a 10-3 lead in the decisive fifth set, before eventually disposing of Emory; 15-12.
WHO STOOD OUT: Horner stepped up in a big way for the Tigers, recording 16 kills for a K% of .448 in the match. Karen Wildemann continued to be a catalyst on offense for Wittenberg, as the junior notched a career high 11 kills on Saturday morning. Fellow junior Madison Manger was all over the court for Wittenberg, recording 22 digs in the upset.
WHAT IT MEANS: After defeating Emory, the Tigers made it back-to-back years that Labrador's squad has been able to shake up the AVCA ranking early on, as the Tigers defeated #1 California Lutheran and #21 Elmhurst at home in 2016. The Tigers move to 6-5 all-time against Emory, as the 2017 meeting between the two powerhouses is the first since 2013.
NOTABLES: Wittenberg starts 2-0 for the first time since 2015, when the team got off to a 3-0 start with wins against Otterbein, St. Thomas, and Johns Hopkins. The Tigers have a chance to move to 3-0 against that same Johns Hopkins team on Saturday at 5:30PM. Wildemann also collected her first "triple-double" of 2017 with 11 kills, 41 assists and 10 digs, a feat that Tiger fans should keep an eye on in 2017.
QUOATABLE: "There are really no losers in matches like this. Both teams did an excellent job challenging for every point. Emory plays a physical brand of volleyball, year in, year out. I'm proud of how we kept grinding. Freshman Haley Horner converted some clutch points for us late in the match. We regroup and play a highly skilled Johns Hopkins at 5:30," said Coach Labrador.