Henley Closes in On Career Digs Mark as Owls Advance
FULTON, MO -- Despite a slight scare in the first and fourth sets, the William Woods University volleyball team moved on to the semifinals of the AMC Postseason Tournament for the second straight year with a 3-1 (23-25, 25-22, 25-16, 25-23) win over Hannibal-LaGrange University on Tuesday night. The Owls again picked up double-doubles from Emily Becker and Sarah Wehmeyer and Amanda Henley put herself in contention to hit the WWU career digs mark, recording 39 in the match.
The Owls got off to a slow start in the first set, falling behind 5-0 out of the gate, but were able to battle back to 5-5. Despite pulling on to level terms, William Woods never led in the first set, falling 23-25.
WWU found itself trailing early in the second set as well, as Hannibal-LaGrange opened with a kill by Lindsay Smith and forced an attack error from the Owls to lead 2-0. A Becker kill followed by a Henley ace righted the ship, however, and the teams battled out to 9-9.
A quick attack by Wehmeyer found the floor to give the Owls the 10-10 deadlock and spark a quick 5-1 run for WWU. The spurt would be enough to help WWU to even the match at 1-1, as they never trailed again in the second set.
The teams were fairly close throughout the opening of the third set, but a pivotal play with the Owls up 15-13 turned the tide of the set in WWU's favor.
On the serve by Abbie O'Mara the attack from Brook Van Es was whistled dead by the up referee as it rattled the antenna but the Trojans appealed to the line judge to see if he had a better view. After consultation, it was ruled a replay, but at the end of the ensuing rally, Van Es clearly hit the ball outside the antenna, giving the Owls the point. A kill from Bauer forced a timeout as Hannibal-LaGrange's coach tried to get his squad back into the set, but William Woods posted an 8-3 run to close out the set.
The Owls led for much of the fourth set, but a 4-1 run by HLGU turned a 19-18 lead into a 20-22 deficit for WWU. A big kill from Becker halted the run, but HLGU was able to respond with a Van Es kill to push back to 23-21.
A furious eight-ball rally followed, with Lauren Rodewald picking up the kill and the point after seeing an attack blocked earlier in the rally. A thundering block from Bauer and Melanie Bonk brought the score level at 23, with Bonk putting the Owls at match point as her attack found the floor after a tip.
The Trojans weren't able to handle Emily Nolte's serve cleanly, popping the ball back over the net where it was slammed home by Rodewald for the match win.
As a team, WWU hit .199 for the match, with HLGU mustering just a .142 clip. Becker led all hitters with a .282 mark, with her 14 kills going with 14 digs for the double-double. Wehmeyer posted 12 digs with 41 assists for her fourth consecutive double-double.
William Woods moves to 21-18 on the year and will take on top seed Columbia College on Thursday night. First serve for the match is set for 7 p.m. Henley will enter Thursday's match 17 digs shy of tying the WWU career high at 2,202.