SPRINGFIELD, Ohio - The Wittenberg Tigers had little time to hang their heads after a season-opening loss to Hope. So the Tigers found something much better to do with their time - rebounding less than 24 hours later to pick up a pair of convincing victories over Johns Hopkins and fifth-ranked St. Thomas on the second and final day of the Courtyard by Marriott Wittenberg National Invitational.
The Tigers wound up with a 2-1 record in the competition, trailing fourth-ranked Hope, which dropped just one set in the three matches en route to a 3-0 record. St. Thomas went 1-2 and Johns Hopkins finished 0-3.
While it was important for Wittenberg to beat Johns Hopkins 3-0 and St. Thomas 3-1, the way the Tigers did it was even more significant. Wittenberg spread the wealth both offensively and defensively, and the result was an extremely efficient attack percentage.
Against Johns Hopkins, the Tigers were dominant in winning by set scores of 25-14, 25-16, 25-11. Five different Wittenberg players finished with at least 10 attack attempts in the match, with a trio of Tigers contributing a team-best six kills: junior outside hitter Kristina Fultz (Batavia, Ohio/Glen Este), sophomore middle hitter Emily Kahlig (Coldwater, Ohio/Coldwater) and senior setter Meghan Vodopich (Canton, Ohio/Perry). Juniors Melissa Emming (West Chester, Ohio/Mount Notre Dame) and Kara Seidenstricker (London, Ohio/Jonathan Alder) added four kills each.
Vodopich added 15 assists, while Emming led the defense with 12 digs. Senior libero Kiah Murray (Yorktown, Ind./Yorktown) chipped in with 11 digs.
Emming did it all in the day's second match, which concluded with set scores of 25-17, 24-26, 25-18, 25-15. She paced the offense with a career-high 18 kills on 51 attack attempts, in addition to 15 digs and two solo blocks. Fultz also turned in perhaps her finest performance in the Red & White, finishing with 13 kills and 10 digs for her first career double-double.
Seidenstricker, Vodopich and Kahlig all added nine kills against the Tommies. Vodopich also dished out 45 assists and picked up 15 digs, Seidenstricker contributed 19 digs and a career-best six blocks, and Murray rounded out the statistical leaders with 25 digs.
The Tigers have two weekends of top-flight non-conference competition ahead, starting with the ASICS/Washington University National Invitational Sept. 5-6. Wittenberg will return home to host the Wittenberg Fall Classic Sept. 12-13, with the Tigers' first opponent being No. 1 ranked defending national champion Calvin.
Written By: Ryan Maurer