The Case Western Reserve University Spartans fell just short in a thrilling five-set match at Horsburgh Gymnasium on Wednesday night, dropping a 3-2 (34-32, 14-25, 25-18, 23-25, 15-7) decision to Baldwin Wallace University.
It was the first loss of the season for the Spartans, who dropped to 10-1 overall on the season. The Yellow Jackets improved to 14-2 on the year with the win.
CWRU freshman setter Shannon Carroll tallied a career-best 53 assists during the match and added 15 digs. Junior Marian Barton led the team with 22 kills during the match, hitting .302, while senior libero Katie Best finished the match with a season-high 26 digs. Seniors Carolyn Bogart (11) and Haley Kauffman (10) each registered double-digit kill totals as well on Wednesday.
The Yellow Jackets took the early advantage in the match with a win in a marathon first set. Playing evenly throughout, Baldwin Wallace eventually built to a set-high five point lead at 21-16, before CWRU tallied the next seven points to take a 23-21 edge. Once again, Baldwin Wallace bounced back with three-straight points, before a kill by Barton kept the Spartans alive at 24-24. The two teams would continue to go back-and-fourth until the Yellow Jackets finally claimed back-to-back points to win the set 34-32.
The loss ended a stretch of 24-consecutive games won by the Spartans, dating back to their September 4th contest against Otterbein.
The Spartans rebounded early in the second set, jumping out to a 16-7 lead. Baldwin Wallace pulled back within six points, 20-14, but CWRU ran away late, claiming the set by a 25-14 score to even the match at a game apiece. Case Western Reserve hit .286 during the second set, while holding the Yellow Jackets to a .026 hitting percentage.
The third set belonged to Baldwin Wallace, which ran off nine of 11 points to break open a 21-13 lead, en route to a 25-18 win in the game, taking a 2-1 lead in the match.
CWRU pulled even again with a win in a see-saw fourth game. The team broke an 18-all tie by rallying for five of the next seven points. The Spartans' game-clinching point was highlighted by a pair of strong digs by Kauffman to cement the 25-23 win and send the match to a fifth set.
The Spartans never led in the deciding set, but pulled within a point, 8-7, before Baldwin Wallace scored the final seven points to clinch the match.
The Spartans will be back in action at the Carnegie Mellon DoubleTree Invitational in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Friday and Saturday. CWRU will open play against Pomona-Pitzer Colleges at 2:00 p.m. on Friday.